Happy to see the world in pictures through the internet - Argus Friday 21st August 2015

Posted Monday 21st September 2015   By Ericka Waller

A FRIEND of mine is off travelling. This saddens me, and I doubt we will be able to be friends when he gets back. He will start all of his sentences with “When you’ve been travelling” and “What I learned when I was travelling”. Why do people who take a year off to muck about doing naff-all think they are more enlightened than those of us who stay put and get a proper job? There is nothing more boring than hearing about people’s travelling adventures, unless they are telling them whilst simultaneously presenting a slide-show of photos. My husband’s uncle actually bored his mother-in-law to death with 300 three-hundred photos of his fishing trip in Crete. She physically lost the will to live and died in the chair. He said it was how she wanted to go but I am not so sure.

You are not allowed to mention the word ‘travelling’ to my friend Abi. Her husband went round the world for a year with his ex-girlfriend. Anywhere Abi suggests going on holiday has already been ‘done’ with the ex. When you go abroad with a back-pack it seems you have to call it ‘doing’ a country. I go shopping with a bag for life, but feel no need to proclaim ‘I did Marks and Sparks’.

When my brother went travelling, he bought trousers that had zips at the knees so they could be turned into shorts within seconds. He practised the manoeuvre many times before he left. I felt he was taking it all a bit too seriously, but obviously could not comment, having never been travelling.

I tried once. While on my luxury holiday to Sharm El Sheikh a few years back, I took a 12-hour night-bus to Cairo. When I (finally) arrived, cramped and sore, I found that the Pyramids were not in an oasis in the middle of the desert - they were opposite a KFC - and the only thing I discovered about myself was that I had contracted food-poisoning from some lamb cooked in sand the day before.

I was forced to return to my five-star resort and lay in an air-conditioned room for two days watching MTV Celebrity Cribs.

If people feel they need a hard-knock experience to truly find themselves, why not get a job in the warehouse at Amazon? A recent report claims employees are regularly found on their knees in tears. They could draw a rainforest on the box in front of them (as they sobbed), skip a couple of meals, get on the wrong bus home, take 200 two hundred photos and claim to be a better person. Job done.

I don’t know what is worse, hearing about people getting excited about travelling (see above about my brother’s trousers) or listening to them bemoan having to come home afterwards. “I’m only back to save up for the bits of South America I haven’t done yet.” (Cue melancholic fiddle with the spiritual pendant they bartered for in Papua New Guinea).

I travel in the comfort of my own home via Instagram. Today alone I have seen lovely photos of the Taj Mahal, Statue of Liberty, Machu Picchu and Worthing Pier. It was just like being there, except I didn’t have to stand amongst idiot travellers who moaned about how commercial and overcrowded all the places ‘Lonely Planet’ said they must visit were.

If it is solitude people are looking for, they’d be best off buying a garden shed and a packet of patchouli joss-sticks. There would be far less chance of hundreds of strangers trying to cram in it with them (possibly poking an eye out with a selfie-stick as they do so).

Don’t get me wrong. I like to see the world. I like to do it by working hard, having two holidays a year and using them to visit interesting places in the day and then going back to my nice hotel room at night. I reckon I could ‘do’ 50 or more countries in my life doing it this way.

But I have no desire to give up my career, my property, my car and my life to faff about for a year in flip flops looking at old buildings and getting drunk on a beach before coming home depressed and unemployable. The beach bum life is hardly ‘highly motivated, starter-finisher’ CV material is it?.

If a person thought where they lived was so rubbish they had to flee from it, why return to the very same place with no money, job, car, or place to live, and claim to have learned so much about life?

And shut up anyway, No one will want to hear about it. Some of us have to get up in the morning, to ‘do’ work.

And finally

Infidelity website Ashley Madison, whose slogan is ‘life is short, have an affair’, has been hacked.

A married SNP MP’s email address is among the millions released today (Wednesday), along with 130 other British Government workers.

One wonders how hard they are ‘working’ if they have time to register their government email address on such a site. I imagine lots of hidden iPhones buzzing under the benches in ‘Prime Minister’s Questions’ as new matches are being made. What a cheap nasty thrill.

How can we ever believe in MPs and our government when they can be found on a website that endorses lies, immoral behaviour and such shadiness of character?Luckily (for them) that they are not one of the 1200 Saudi Arabians whose details have been leaked, as theirs is a country where adultery is punishable by death. As it is our MPs will have their knuckles rapped, (which they will probably enjoy, filthy sods) get given a new email address and a sideways move in the protected corridors of Whitehall.

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