March 8, 2007

Travel Plans

Maybe it's a symptom of working from home, but every day I travel around the world in the newspapers of other countries. I have some favourites: the British never fail to widen my eyes in some way - so much character in such a tiny place. You can dig into other places sometimes by following obscure links, from which I get hopelessly lost chasing down threads and forget where I started. Or why. What a great age we live in.

I find myself with a penchant for odd, remote places. I am drawn to places where nobody else goes, or only goes to with great difficulty. I'm not particularly adventurous, so the wishing is unlikely to put travel plans in my pocket any time soon, but the thought of Vegas or Disneyland makes me shudder. The stone faces of Easter Island call to me and ancient waterfalls hidden in Peruvian jungles captivate me.

Today I tripped over a tiny island called Sark, just off the British coast. I've heard of Jersey and Guernsey in the English Channel, but Sark is tinier still at only 3 miles long. Mostly unchanged for 450 years, it is now facing the outside world pounding away at its door.

Horsedrawn carriages, farming, pubs, residents descended from its first occupation, it was once a haven for monks and pirates. In spite of its colourful history, it struggles to adjust to a changing world it can no longer opt out of. Many residents are of the 'if it ain't broke, why fix it' rule, and indeed some of the laws seem perfectly sane to me. Neighbour disputes are handled thusly: If someone is infringing on your rights, you go to the island seigneur (a title descended by family), fall on your knees and say "Help me, my prince, someone does me wrong". All work must stop until it gets before the court. Apparently it works quite well. How civil.

The problem with all these places that I yearn to go is the problem we've all created.

As soon as we get there, the magic is destroyed.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Lorraine
We just email-chatted the other day.
I am totally like you in this regard. Not fond of travel to begin with (not sure if that is the fear of flying OR the idea of dragging the kids along...nearly equal in my mind now) I dread the "norms" every other family seem to revel in.
I have sort of , kind of, nearly promised my two girls that we may eventually try to drive to Disney...but I have warned them if they fail to enjoy our own Disney (Canada's Wonderland...dreading that trip already!) they will not be meeting Mickey anytime soon.
But I do understand your love of the smaller out of the way hidden joys and places........I too dream of a quiet place to hide, er, visit....I used to fantasize about tiny cottages in Scotland or Ireland...I was born near the ocean in BC so for me, a sprawl of water/ocean, some green and NO NEIGHBOURS is heavenly....
But like you I fear once I get this...POOF!

March 09, 2007 11:49 AM  

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