As long as we’re making a vacation “wish list” we might as well go all the way. A few short decades ago, it was a pretty big deal for the average person to board a plane and go, well, anywhere. Now the globe has become considerably smaller with the advent of cheap, fast and somewhat reliable travel, and it’s gotten to the point where, these days, even the sky is no longer the limit.
Nowadays, if you’ve got the cash, the time and the inkling, you can travel just about anywhere on the planet, including some of the places which in the past were reserved for only the most intrepid of adventurers and explorers.
Take for instance, Mount Everest, which in recent years has become so overrun that it now resembles a frozen stirred-up human anthill instead of a lonely, forbidding outpost braved only by hardy Sherpas and a few foolhardy Westerners with a penchant for dangerous feats of endurance and a desire to climb things just because they were “there.” Now, Everest is scaled mostly by people who do it because “everybody else did it, and I want to, too.”
The same goes for Antarctica. For many years, only the bravest (and craziest) humans went there at all, whether they were explorers bent on conquering the South Pole, or Nazis looking for holes from which UFO’s fly out of (true story – look it up.) Now the bays of this icy, once forbidding continent are full of cruise ships crammed stem to stern with camera-wielding gawkers eager to catch a glimpse of those funny-looking birds who wear those cute tuxedos.
The same applies to the North Pole – thanks to global warming, you can now sail right over the top of the globe wearing Bermuda shorts, sunglasses and flip-flops, and not have to worry about encountering any icebergs larger than the cubes in your vodka and tonic.
And soon, if Sir Richard Branson and a few other shameless entrepreneurs have their way, you’ll be able to strap yourself into a rocket ship and be blasted beyond the stratosphere, embarking on your own personal space odyssey for about the same price as taking the family out for a lavish dinner at the Hardee’s located in your local strip mall.
Honestly, I somehow long for the days when stagecoaches were among the fastest means of travel available and when one could make jokes like: “Hey, you ought to be on stage! There’s one leaving in an hour…”