22 Apr 2011

RTW

In Jules Verne's classic story, it took Phileas Fogg 80 days to travel around the world. While that may have been a mad dash in the 1870ies, it would be an eternity today. And it would, sadly, amount to over five times my annual vacation allotment. So no matter how much I'd like to tread in the literary hero's footsteps (not to mention having a lackey named Passepartout), my choice was between short trip and no trip.

So here I am, at New York's JFK airport, one of the 21st century's crossroads of the world and a fitting place to start my quick tour du monde. On the tarmac outside, tailfins from all continents taxi by, while in the terminal travellers from just as many places hurry past, guided as if by magic to intercept their matching aircraft. My vantage point is the familiar Swiss Air Lines lounge, and indeed I am headed to Switzerland.

But, much like Mr. Fogg, I will go the round-about way. Which is why, instead of taking an 8 hour flight due east, I'll soon board a 14 hour one in the opposite direction, dropping me on a politically divided peninsula half-way around the globe. I then plan to chase cherry blossoms in a land of trembling grounds and melting reactors, before visiting a harmonious society in their capital. I'll meet my trusted travel buddy for a great leap forward on an equally great wall, thus strenuously earning some comfort time in the fascinating and familiar surroundings of a fragrant harbor. Yet another globetrotter will meet us there, and onwards our journey will go to the city of Angels. It is their soothing and relaxing touch which will invite me, at long last, to join their flight to that small alpine country in whose New York outpost I currently sit.

Yes, I'll definitely take the long way home. In fact, the final bit back to Canada will seem like a walk in the park. But as any good world traveller would agree, it's all about the journey. And while the globe may only turn a few times while I am gone, you can bet that I'll add one more spin myself. It's a childhood dream come true - I'm getting on the merry-go-round!

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