Can you remember losing your virginity? Was it on a school trip, scout camp, or that holiday in North Wales with your parents when you were eleven? I’m talking travel now, not sex, but there are more similarities than you might think.
Travel brings with it great excitement, but does it also bring a loss of innocence? The pure wonder of what it must be like in a distant land, to walk the streets in a place you’ve only seen on television, or read about in a book. Where do you first find out about sex? TV and books, of course – page 83 of your biology text book, to be precise. And now there’s the internet. Travel and sex – probably the two most searched subject areas on the World Wide Web. See? Even the name suggests travel.
When you get to your chosen destination, the place you’ve dreamt about for years, spent money to get to and planned for meticulously – does it meet your expectations? Or will you regret it in the morning? If not, will you ever think of it in the same way again, now that you’ve been there, done that? Will you go back? Some people return to the same place over and over again. Does that make them monogamous travellers? I’m a promiscuous traveller myself – preferring to go to new pastures as often as possible.
There are a few exceptions, though. Some destinations attach themselves to you in ways which can be hard to define. It must be love. Love for what? The view, the climate, the people, the experience? All of them.
Are you a considerate traveller? Do you think about the needs of your destination? Do you wonder if the travel was as good for it as it was for you? Do you care? There are plenty of opportunities these days for you to put something back into the places you visit. To volunteer your effort and time as well as your money. Surely the best type of travel is when both sides get as much out of it.
Of course, you can lose your travel virginity in many ways. In fact, unlike sex, you can lose it over and over again. The first time you leave town. The first time you go abroad. The first time you go without your parents. For many people, loss of travel virginity and sexual virginity occurs at pretty much the same time – usually in Tenerife.
What about travel to different cultures? You’ve gained experience in the ways of various people and can take that back with you. You are now a Tantric traveller!
As for those so-called Adventure Holidays, are they the ultimate travel experience? They certainly require strength and stamina. They may even be a bit kinky. Could trekking in Nepal be considered travel S&M? There’s a similar amount of pain involved, and they’re both done voluntarily and for pleasure. Or so I’m told…
It’s obvious that reading travels brochures and watching television holiday shows is travel-voyeurism, possibly even flirting. So a visit to the Travel Agent must be outright foreplay.
Safe travel is a big issue nowadays. Years ago, nobody cared. They just went and did it and worried about it later, going home with a dose of something or other. Now you can get prophylactics against such things. Malaria is therefore the world’s most dangerous travel STD (Sting Transmitted Disease).
And, of course, no matter how far you go, how much you do it, how often and with whom, you always want more – usually in a far off land with a faceless bronzed stranger who has never left town.