Travel trials

One of the reasons that I choose not to travel regularly is that I hate delays. I do not enjoy automated journeys, however appealing the destination may be, unless I can proceed at a pace that I am comfortable with. Be it by road, rail or air; I always seem to be required to wait around, usually because too many other people wish to travel through the route that I am required to use. I do not wish to waste my time sitting waiting for a delayed event that will do no more than allow me to continue on my journey.

My recent camping holiday was located a mere sixty miles from where I live and, even with a couple of large conurbations to navigate, should have taken well under a couple of hours to drive to. The journey there was straightforward but the return tortuous. Between traffic jams, roadworks and slow moving vehicles we crawled our way home on a stop start route that had my husband swearing like a trooper. He is even less patient with other travellers than I, hard though this may be to believe.

I realise that I am showing my age when I admit that I remember a time when driving was a pleasure; when well maintained roads, free of troublesome traffic and ‘calming’ devices, were to be found around all but the largest cities. The journey could be enjoyable and the destination reached in a predictable length of time. A day out did not need to involve a choice between death defying overtaking manoeuvres and sitting behind drivers who would crawl along an open road at 30mph before indicating left and turning right or grinding to a halt on the double yellow lines outside a fire station to check their map (just two of the examples of elderly men in hats that we encountered on yesterday’s journey).

The long stretches of roadworks that we queued up to pass did not appear to contain any workers; the newly installed roundabout appeared to serve no purpose other than to slow down the flow of traffic. There were just too many cars trying to navigate the route; too many people trying to travel and being thwarted in their attempts to proceed.

I will happily walk or cycle purely for pleasure. These journeys involve fresh air, a chance to enjoy beautiful countryside and, if I am lucky, will include a jovial companion to share the experience with. Perhaps it is the lack of personal control that comes into play on automated journeys that irritates me so much. Many of the delays cannot be predicted, explained or avoided, merely endured. The waiting around is often to be borne in uncomfortable seats amidst crowds and pollution, both of which I detest.

To refuse to travel entirely due to my dislike of the journey would be to deny both myself and my family many of the experiences that we look back on with pleasure. I must therefore do my best to curb my grumpiness and endure the apparently ubiquitous delays as best I can. Why others choose to take on such experiences as regularly as they do though baffles me. The irritations of travel require a subsequent, major reward to make them worthwhile.

With the start of the school summer holidays, this weekend is predicted to be one of the busiest of the year on the roads in Britain. There are also hazardous thunderstorms forecast which can only make journeys more difficult. Despite the travel trials, I have had an enjoyable few days away. I am, however, glad to be once again in the comfort of my own home.

English: Bank Holiday traffic jam in Lyndhurst...

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