Slow travel

Published: August 6th 2007
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I decided a while ago that I would do this trip without flying. Partially, this is because of environmental issues, but in the last few years I began to dislike flying more and more. I've flown a lot in my life, since I was eleven years old, and it has lost its appeal (if there ever was one...) long ago. Apart from the fact that you can't move on the plane and the tedious check-in procedures, there is something absurd about stepping on a plane in rainy, cold Britain and emerging in a hot, tropical country ten hours later, in a totally different time-zone. It's too fast. Somebody, somewhere said that it takes the soul a day to catch up with the body after flying.... I'd say it takes about a week! I used to laugh at my father because that's exactly the reason he chooses to spend three days in a bus to Sicily, rather than flying! I must be getting old..... But seriously, what's the hurry? It's a symptom of this 'fast fast instant' world that makes us hop on and off planes. Somehow, there seems to be no appreciation of the actual journey anymore.

At the moment, I'm trying to sort out my visas. I thought this would be reasonably straight-forward, in particular as I'm using a visa-company, but no... most annoying are the strange rules for China. Apparently, you need either an itinerary that shows exactly where you're going (issued by a travel agency), or a ticket that proves you're leaving China again at some point. I have neither, as I'm planning to go into Tibet from China, and then from Lhasa to Kathmandu. The planes stop their services into Kathmandu at the end of October so even if I was going to fly I'd need to find another way of getting to Nepal. In any case I was thinking of sorting this all out there and then, when I'm ready to go. Somebody advised me just to buy a ticket - any ticket - out of China, even if I'm not using it. This might be the way to go.

Seems like it's harder to just follow the flow of life than expected... unless you have infinite time and patience. Something to work on....


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