A long time ago I realised that I liked journeys. I like to travel overland so that I have a sense of the distance, of where I start and where I end up, I like to see the changes and if the journey is long enough to see the changing seasons.
History and literature are full of tales of journeys, to conquer land as Alexander the Great, to explore, to convert like St Paul, to wage and return from war like The Odyssey, to seek knowledge as ” The Journey of the Magi“, for migration.
There were also those who had to go beyond what was known as Columbus or personal journeys such as Mary Kingsley and Sir Richard Burton. Adventurers are still testing themselves in such journeys, climbing to the top of Mt Everest, rowing from Australia to New Zealand or recreating the 1924 car rally from Peking to Paris in the original cars.
So while grand journeys are part of our stories and still in the popular imagination I have found that it is possible to take much more ordinary journeys in relative comfort.
Many of my generation, but not me, traveled by sea to Europe in the 1960s.
My first journey was from Sydney to Perth, by train with a 3 year old, in 1979 for my brother’s wedding.
Next as a family of 4 and 2 backpacks in 1982 we went by train from Bonn to Oslo and thence to Narvik inside the Arctic Circle and then across Sweden and down into Finland and back to Bonn, a journey to see the midnight sun which took 4 weeks.
Later a trip up the Birdsville Track and another across the Tanami Desert and along the Gibb River Road.
In 2004 I was going to visit my daughter living in London and realised that is was possible to go by train from Hong Kong to St Pancras Station London. This I did.
Hong Kong to St Petersburg was a 28 days tour with Sundowners. Then on to Helsinki to meet up with Maria Selin who had been an exchange student with our family in 1996 and then to Hortsens in Denmark to stay with Marie Gaarten’s family, Marie had been an exchange student with us in 1995, then train to Brussels and Eurorail to London.
So having started all this journeying a bit late I am now concerned that I am running out of time so 2013 again with Sundowners a 45 day trip called the Great Asian Caravan following the Silk Road from Beijing to Istanbul.