Far Away Places: The World Got Big Again All of a Sudden

The Jumbo Jet is often attributed to making the world smaller. Allowing affordable air travel for the masses meant that previously unthinkable far-flung destinations were now potential holiday destinations.


Certainly Hubby and I have enjoyed our fair-share of air travel, not just on 747’s, but also on 777’s, tiny prop planes and more recently the beast that is the A380 (phwoar – yes, I’m a plane geek).  In the past few years we’ve ticked Kuala Lumpur, Borneo, Singapore, Langkawi and Sri Lanka off our long-haul to do list.

Fire Performer Bormeo

Our parent’s are often concerned when we tell them we’re going away. Both Hubby and I come from working class families, for whom international travel still has some essence of novelty value to it. Certainly, I don’t think my mom has ever been abroad. This means we get the same response whenever we tell them we’ve booked our latest travels…

Them: Where are you off to now?

Us: <Announce name of country we’re supremely excited to visit>

Them: Tsk! Why can’t you just go somewhere normal?

Friends have experienced similar conversations with their parents. I get it. I do. Some of the places we travel to seem strange to them. Other times they’re just fearful for our safety, which is sweet. I’ve always thought this was an unnecessary worry until we recently decided to look for the perfect Autumnal break. Somewhere we can go to laze in the sun, switch off our brains and rest our weary limbs.

Sunset on Langkawi beach

Perhaps we could go back to Langkawi – our Honeymoon destination? After all we are going away around our anniversary? But then we would have to fly with Malaysia Airlines and, well, they’re not having much luck recently. I’ll be honest, it’s more the prohibitive costs that deter me on this one. If I could get a cheap deal my reservations of flying with the superb Malaysia Airlines would disappear and, in my opinion, it’s been poor luck that two of their aircraft have suffered such terrible fate. It’s difficult to say if they were specifically targeted as a brand/country but I’d like to think not and that it could have just as easily been any other carrier. Although obviously, in both instances, it shouldn’t have happened at all.

Then we thought about Thailand. I’ve always wanted to go. Hubby informed me there’s trouble brewing there. I assured him we would be fine transferring in Bangkok airport to one of the tropical touristy islands. He wasn’t buying it. Again, this was a rather expensive option, so I decided to cease my ‘visit Thailand’ campaign.

A cheap all-inclusive package would suit us down to the ground. What about Egypt? But is there still trouble there and, if so, in which parts? Again, high prices put pay to us doing too much research. Instead we stumbled on Tunisia. Prices were good, hotels looked nice and although it seemed to have a polarising Marmite effect on people we were willing to give it a try. Then the US sold Tunisia some Black Hawk helicopters and there was talk of trouble in the run up to the election, possibly throughout Ramadan, within the mountain regions where there were terrorist incidents and on the border where people were fleeing from neighbouring Syria. Suddenly we had doubts and decided to investigate safer options. Safer boring European options where we could either get culture or hot weather – never both.

I hate the feeling that I’m compromising, that I’m worried to travel to certain destinations. I love experiencing new cultures and pushing myself outside of my comfort zone, but even for me I find myself playing it safe. Sadly that means the terrorists are winning. They’re making us change our everyday actions and undoing the work that the 747 did all those years ago. The world has gone from being super accessible to somewhat intimidating.


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