Alan's Blog

 

Travelling

Two Passions

 

I sometimes think about photography. My photography in particular. Nowadays, I think more about touring than anything else. Sadly, with this pandemic still raging*, no one has been able to go out very much and take photographs or go touring. In fact, I'm sure there must be photographers who haven't picked up their cameras for at least six months.

The great thing about these two passions of mine is that one complements the other – in both directions, as it were:

a)         Going touring enables you to see and photograph the most amazing places on our planet.

b)         Having photography as a passion pushes you to go touring so you can see and photograph the most amazing places on our planet.

As I've frequently mentioned (and on my blog at URL: http://alsblog.co.uk/travellers_dream.html), planning one's tour – and photographic trip – can while away many hours during this pandemic lock-down when one could easily become really bored.

The big problem is knowing when to stop planning your route as there are so many wonderful places to visit the list becomes endless. For example, people often tour the chateaux of the Loire valley. But how many tourists realise that there are at least 300 chateaux in this area? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ch%C3%A2teaux_of_the_Loire_Valley) How many visitors actually visit each of these chateaux? I suggest none of them. It would take far too long on what is usually a holiday. However, if you spent 6 or 7 months visiting them, that would be a possibility – say from March to September when the weather is at its best. What a trip that would be – and just imagine how many thousands of photographs (and videos) you could take on a trip like that.

Now, I realise that many people would consider this to be rather an extreme tour. You would have to be very passionate about visiting chateaux to take on a trip of this sort but in all those months you wouldn't need to drive a huge distance as they are all located in quite a small area of France.

At the other extreme, you could take a 3 to 4 week tour visiting the best Christmas markets in Europe; meaning that you'd probably drive anywhere from 3000 to 5000 miles, depending on which places you visited (https://matadornetwork.com/read/best-holiday-lights/?ct=t(EDITORIAL_TRAVERSE_NOVEMBER_23_2020) or https://matadornetwork.com/read/7-best-christmas-markets-europe/ ).

I highlight these two extremes to indicate just how difficult it can be to plan a tour. What do you want to see and what places do you not want to see? Do you want to see a place in some depth or do you want to visit a few places that cover a long distance? Only you can answer that question, of course. That too is my dilemma. We are so spoiled for choice as there are so many interesting / beautiful / amazing places to visit, that, like a kid in a sweet shop, how can we possibly choose what to see – and what to leave out?

Of course, we all have different ideas about what we want to see. A man I once worked with retired after exactly 50 years of working in the same place (how boring!). His retirement coincided with the Rugby World Cup being held in New Zealand. He and some of his friends flew to New Zealand, rented a motorhome and visited all of the places where they wanted to see a match being played. What else they saw of this country I have no idea, but that was their idea for a tour and it certainly made planning a lot easier as they had a fixed itinerary.

One family I really admire have a very inspirational website about living in their motorhome - and constantly touring. Their site is at URL: https://www.wandering-bird.com/ and they also produce many videos on youtube, the most recent being a tour of the Verdon Gorge in France at URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=qu2eCwm3UC0&feature=youtu.be

Even though I hate planning, I do realise that the time spent doing so isn't usually wasted. By doing your research you often 'discover' places to visit that you may well have otherwise missed. An example of this which I discovered only a couple of days ago - more than four years after the event - was that the town of Colmar in France is well worth a visit to see its medieval buildings (they also have one of the best Christmas markets too). JP and I somehow missed this interesting part of the town when we passed by on our bicycle trip that followed the course of the River Rhine. We didn't know what to look for, or where, as I hadn't done any planning and we certainly couldn't carry any guide books with us. So near, yet so far!

When you don't have a fixed itinerary, planning your touring life becomes much more complicated. It's even worse if you don't have to worry about time, as we did during our bicycle ride that was limited to five weeks. This is the really BIG factor. It is often the case that if you have the time you don't have the money and if you have the money you don't have the time, particularly if you are a working person. This is why so many people you see towing a caravan behind their car or driving a motorhome are retired. They have the time and the money – good for them. Being 'single' is also an asset in some ways although touring alone can be a very lonely life; the upside being that you have total independence on when and where you travel. Touring indefinitely is my dream too – and I am now retired, but the pandemic is one reason for me not to be going off on my travels at present - and there are a whole host of other reasons too. One day I'll go – but at my age I can't put it off for too much longer or I'll be touring the spirit world - hopefully with Annelise.

Now, where shall I go first?


* Is it really raging? I don't know anyone who has had it or even someone who knows someone who's had it in any way confirmed. I guess it's just the governments that think it's raging as no one else seems to think it is and governments of any country are certainly not to be trusted to tell the truth. We have no way of knowing accurately the number of people who have become ill or have died from this virus. Is it just an exercise in controlling the world's population and stopping them from travelling? Is it a way of forcing people to have the vaccine with who knows what effects that may be brought about in the long term? It is common knowledge that the powers that be are doing their best to reduce the world's population - is this one way of achieving their aim? Why else was the AIDS virus introduced? The CEO of QANTAS has already stated that persons who fly on their international routes must have been vaccinated first (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-55048438). Why should everyone in the world be vaccinated for a virus that is unlikely to kill us or seriously harm us any more than 'flu (and probably be less harmful)? The only winners are the pharmaceutical companies and their shareholders who must be making an absolute fortune whilst the economies of many countries are collapsing and the poor people are getting poorer - many starving to death because they can't obtain work whilst being 'locked-down'.

All comments on my blog should be addressed to: alsblog@protonmail.com