Today’s Topic: How the convenience of modern day travel has transformed our concept of the size of the world.
Not too long ago the act of moving across a vast distance of land to go from one area to another in relative safety was seen as a luxury few could afford. Even further back in time the act of moving across great distances was a voyage that was fraught with many dangers. Nowadays we just buy a ticket online, hop on a plane, train, or boat, and go about our business as usual.
The risks have been minimized, the journeys are less harsh on the passengers, and trips to the far reaches of the world can be made at the drop of a hat. Are we beginning to take such ease of travel for granted?
Settlers moving from one side of a country to another would likely lose their minds if they found that people were able to go from one country to another by soaring over a large body of water riding in a massive vessel in less than a day. Not only that, but people can travel in comfort by utilizing recent technological advances: entertainment systems, tablets, laptops, smartphones, WiFi, and more can be enjoyed by passengers of many different crafts.
My first flights when I was a child are but fuzzy memories for me now, but I don’t recall having a small monitor set in the back of the seat in front of me that I could use to watch recently released movies and TV shows. I don’t recall being able to use WiFi while 30,000 feet in the air. I especially don’t recall being served delicious full course meals and snacks throughout the flight either. ((On a side note, isn’t it interesting that no one makes ‘bad airline food’ jokes now? I’m guessing it’s because the food got a whole lot better than what it was before.))
Since I started traveling after I graduated college, flying has been no big deal to me anymore. I’ve been on and off planes dozens of times in the past few years, and each time I fly I get more and more accustomed to the expereince. The fact that I can go from Japan to Australia, Europe, or North America in less than a day still amazes me, though.
Although the majority of long distance travel is done via airplane, it’s important to note that buses, trains, cars, and boats have also advanced throughout the years. The train system in Japan, for example, is one of the best I’ve ever encountered. I can only imagine what it must have been like to ride a train before the 21st century, though from what I recall from history classes it was a more formal and serious affair.
Although I think it’s pretty neat that we can travel so efficiently in the modern day world, it does sometimes rub me the wrong way when people take such things for granted. If a passenger’s in-flight entertainment system isn’t working correctly, they raise a fuss and act like the entire experience is ruined! You’re traveling from one end of the world to another in a flying tin can, for crying out loud; I really don’t think not being able to watch a few movies while you do so is the end of the world.
Though I thoroughly enjoy how airplanes function now, it’s possible that in 20 years flight times will be cut in half with more efficient engines or new types of transportation may arise. Jet packs have a long way to go with development, but much like how I’m saying people take modern day transportation for granted now, someone might write an article in 100 years talking about how kids don’t appreciate their jet packs like they used to.
Travel will always evolve as technology keeps advancing and growing. Whether you’re traveling by plane, train, boat, or automobile, your journey is likely to be much, much more comfortable than the journeys taken by our ancestors centuries ago. As the world keeps moving forward, it’s important to stop and look back to appreciate what we have now.