Friday 14 December 2007

There's no place like it

I’ve never understood the attraction of holidays. Just the horror of packing to go away is usually enough to put me off. And when you get back, there is always a huge pile of bills to pay; water running down your walls; fallen trees lying about the garden; notes about parcels that sadly could not be delivered but can be collected from a depot 40 miles away if you make an appointment and turn up with three different sorts of approved ID; a fridge full of rotting food and a load of dead plants to dispose of both indoors and out (not to mention dead animals and children if you are particularly careless). Added to which, you have to face this mountain of unwanted tasks in a comprehensively exhausted condition as the result of all the stress of travelling. I’ve only come from Norfolk by car, but I’m totally knackered. In fact, I feel like I need a hol … no, I don’t. Definitely not.

Never again.

The last time I took a really extensive overseas holiday was in 1983, when I embarked on a Far Eastern tour embracing the then Crown Colony of Hong Kong, Singapore, Penang and Bangkok, where I became probably the only single Englishman in modern history not to visit a massage parlour. I haven’t been out of the country since February 2005, when I took a romantic Valentine’s Day trip to Venice with my then fiancée. I have no plans to renew my passport when it expires. If I didn’t live in the middle of nowhere, I wouldn’t renew my driving licence, either.

What’s the point of physically travelling around the place when we can experience all the delights of travel on the Internet or the television, without the stress, the smell and (if you care about that sort of thing) the carbon emissions? Why go all the way to Nepal on the remote off-chance of catching a fleeting glimpse of a snow leopard, when some idiotically brave and patient cameraman has spent the best part of a year of his life holed up in a cave so that it can be shown against a soundtrack of Sir David Attenborough saying, “Oooh, will you look at that?”

Don’t worry about all the jobs that will be lost in the tourist industry. They’ll find something else to do, like the coal miners of Northumberland or the fishermen of Grimsby or the former hereditary members of the House of Lords.

Stay at Home. You know it makes sense.

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