Monday, May 23, 2016

Travel #My500Words #223

I am now up to Day 25 of the My 500 Words Challenge - not long to go now to the finish! Today I will write about "travel".

In the year 2000 I travelled to India on a business trip while working with SmartForce - it was one of the longest that I had taken part in. Previously I had been to the UK, Germany, Canada, and the United States on business trips. This one was set up for me to establish partnerships with Indian e-Learning companies so that content development could be outsourced. While most of the trip was very forgetful, I did have one experience that I enjoyed: a visit to the Elephant Caves on Gharapuri Island near Bombay (Mumbai). For some reason I decided to wear my Ireland jersey, and I was hosted by two Indian men from one of the companies I was visiting - the trip started out at the Gate of India and a short boat ride took me to an island where columns and statues of Hindu Gods were carved out of the rock. One of the most fascinating things I have ever seen. 

Another business trip brought me to the Grand Canyon in Arizona - easily the most breath-taking sight I have ever seen. Myself and some colleagues in SmartForce hired a plane to fly over the Canyon - what an experience! That moment when we were flying along quite low and then passed over the edge of the Canyon - wow! The earth dropped away beneath us.

In today's world I am not that well travelled. My first time outside Ireland was in 1975 when I was almost 16 - an exchange with a French student who lived in St Etienne. The next summer I was off again - this time to Paris and Normandy. My first holiday abroad was my honeymoon to Poreč in Yugoslavia - the part that is now in Croatia. I have been on holiday to Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, Greece, USA, UK, Austria, and Morocco - in addition to the business trips above. I reckon I have been to 13 countries outside of Ireland. Not bad I suppose, but I want to see a lot more. Experiencing other cultures is part of life - we don't have to go that far back to when our ancestors hardly ever set foot outside this country. Roma and I have many dreams and plans to travel when we retire. I also feel that there are a few more European trips on my motorbike still left in me.

When I travel I avoid Irish bars - there's one just across the road from my house that I can go to any time I want. I try to eat and drink whatever the locals are eating and drinking - and try to bring fond memories home. Of course when I travel I take lots of photos - so memories are easier. With the exception of the Passo Tonale ski resort in Italy, where hardly anyone spoke English, I have never had problems communicating - almost everyone speaks English. The only other language that I have a few words in is French - but when I try it in France the locals quickly respond in English.

Travel really does broaden the mind - I am very jealous of today's young people who move all over the world with ease. It's the one thing I wish I had done more of when younger. During my College days I did not travel - almost unheard of now.

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