IF I RAN A TOUR COMPANY
The first order of business in my dream travel operation would be purchasing a teleporter. Never mind the expense (or the fact that they don’t yet exist), I would do whatever it took to make sure my clients didn’t waste a moment of their precious travel time.
Airports would be a long-forgotten memory. Clients would come direct to head office where, suitcase in hand, they would be dissolved into a trillion tiny pieces, reassembled moments later in their destination of choice.
No more customs lines, cramped planes or jet lag. They would arrive fresh, all atoms hopefully intact, and ready for action. Or inaction, as the case may be, for my operation would focus exclusively on travel that soothes the soul.
Forget racing around and crossing off as many cheesy sights as possible; the focus here would be slowing down and sinking in. I would offer a maximum of two destinations on any one trip, so clients could experience living in these places, rather than breezing through and leaving with very little sense of what they’ve seen along the way.
They would always have enough time to truly live like a local. To make friends and find their favourite restaurants; to explore every inch of the place and set up house for a little while; to eradicate the stress of packing and unpacking every second day.
Best of all, this go-slow model would leave plenty of time for doing the most important thing: nothing at all. For luxuriating in a day bed reading a book in the sunshine, for conversations that last for hours, for wandering without agenda, for long naps and even longer meals. These trips would be as much about reclaiming clarity and freedom, as delving deep into an intriguing new destination.
All of this would become even sweeter thanks to the absence of mobile devices. Clients on these journeys must relinquish their phones and laptops, stepping out of the virtual fray before stepping into the teleporter.
Because as travel writer Pico Iyer says: “In a world where the human race accumulates more information every five minutes than exists in the entire US Library of Congress, emptiness and silence are the new luxuries.”
Not to mention the fact that without devices to hunker down over, your eyes and ears are more open to the wonders – and flesh and bone people – around you.
My ultimate aim would be to put my clients back in that teleporter inspired and educated and more in love with the world, yes, but also more fresh and more sane than when they arrived.
THIS WAS PART OF A COVER STORY THAT RAN IN PRINT AND ONLINE HERE