Saturday, June 14, 2008

How much happiness do we get from freedom to travel?

This post is really just an excuse to write something about what I have been doing over the last few weeks.

I have been touring in the Canadian Rockies and Alaska by bus, train and cruise ship - and loving every minute of the experience.

What is it that makes this kind of activity so pleasant? The first thing that comes to mind is the scenery. We saw some truly magnificent scenery. I suppose anyone could see the same kind of thing by watching a TV program or doing an internet search. They might even get to see more of the wildlife than we saw without leaving the comfort of home. But the virtual experience is never as good as the real experience.

I will give you an example. As we were travelling between Lake Louise and Jasper our bus driver noticed a car stopped beside the road. He thought there might be something worth seeing and stopped the bus to let us have a look. That gave us the opportunity to see a couple of grizzlies in their natural environment and to take photos of them. It was just a matter of chance that these bears happened to be there when we passed by. I think all members of our tour group felt that we were privileged to have had that experience.

The second thing that comes to mind is travelling companions. It was great to have been able to share this touring experience with my wife and other people we knew, and to have had the opportunity to travel with a good bunch of people. Some other things that made the holiday pleasant included an excellent tour guide, the opportunity to stay in very comfortable hotels, fine food and professional organisation (by APT).

However, the most important thing that makes touring enjoyable has to be the novelty of the experience. As much as we enjoyed visiting the Canadian Rockies and Alaska, it is not likely that we will return. If we can afford to travel again, we will no doubt be looking for a new experience.

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