Updated: Jul 1, 2020
As the Covid storm gradually - hopefully - fades into the distance and experiencing the world gradually returns to our radar, thoughts turn to travel amid the 'new normal'.
But what form should these future explorations take? Is the humble road trip still the best way to explore the planet? Even if we ignore the frustrations of face masks and socially distanced airport queues, I'd say that in this age of budget airlines, the road trip still reigns supreme - more so than ever, in fact.
For to drive to some far-flung place is to truly understand its place in the world. The journey is an education. Through it, you see how cultures merge into each other, how faces gradually change and how landscapes have shaped the direction of human development. You meet and talk to life’s winners and the losers, leave your tyre tracks among the triumphs and the tragedies which span the globe. You see how the world can change almost beyond recognition as you cross a man-made border, or morph gradually at a natural one. And by seeing how all these disparate factors fit together, and how they’ve shaped the planet you’re driving across, you arrive at your destination with a newfound understanding of its real place in the world; an understanding which it is impossible to gain by simply walking out of an anodyne, air conditioned arrivals lounge into some exotic street.
To fly some far-flung destination is to visit it. But to drive; to drive is to truly learn somewhere’s place in the world. It is to arrive ready to understand the city or landscape you find yourself in, and as we begin to drift out to experience the world once again, surely understanding the world is more important than ever. So, get inspired and get ready to get back out there. Grab your maps and your guidebook, begin to get your car ready for the open road, and start getting ready to hit the tarmac to the far side of the map.