Time travel the human way?

In the old days a person would spend his whole life in his village, never moving probably until he dropped dead. Travel was a one-step or one-step approach affair despite the novels we read glorifying the fact that nearly everyone was on the move. But it is a “generalized” picture designed to keep the story going. Most persons stayed put.

By the 19th century and more so in the 20th century, and now of course, the concepts of movement and travel has become they sky’s the limit. With the advent of steam, trains and airplanes, the parochial sense has ceased to exist. Parochialism has long been thrown out of the window, in its place came travel internationality to practically every single corner of the universe including the moon, well almost!

The idea came to me the other day when my wife and I went to the arrivals gate to pick some of our relatives coming from destination into the country. It was only the previous few days, we had taken them to the airport for a quick nip across the desert. We were in the arrivals with whole lots of other people waiting to receive their relatives, acquaintances’ and friends from planes coming from all over the world. One sitting down lady told me "to shift my body" because I was blocking her way, as if she was watching a movie or a stage play.

Millions and millions of people travel to different countries for tourism purposes, going and coming to different exotic destinations from all over the world. The idea of having a holiday especially in the European, American and now Russian and Asian mindsets is today ingrained in these people who look at their sojourns as sacred and annual pilgrimages.

Then there is the daily work travelers who travel daily within their countries and some even go across continents as in Europe, and I dare say, the United States to get to their workplaces as glorified in novels. In John Grisham’s King of Torts, it is private jets whizzing across America and into the Caribbean, albeit for the rich and mighty. But away from fiction this has really become the normal state of affairs for many professionals shuttling from one capital to another.

The concept of travel for work is still very much a feature in our daily practices despite the rapid communications of satellite phones, roaming cellular’s and of course the internet, email messages and online messages. Whilst these are still the fads, they are as yet to enter the mindsets despite the millions who are using the internet for practical communications.

Maybe of these wonderful gadgets are being increasingly used to generate what is termed as ecommerce, but the old-fashioned term of business travel is still alive, well and kicking. Global businessmen and executives still want to see each other face-to-face to cut on business deals rather than contacting people through an email computer screen. The human touch is still too important.

All this would probably change as new generations of young businessmen take the economic positions and business seats of major corporations but for now a certain tradition continues to exist where handshakes and the face-to-face meetings are all to important as ways of international business practices. Men, women, but on lesser scale and different faces are essential part of the deals and business growth.

My brother is a favorite for this, and there is no doubt there are many like him who just hop from one places-to-place, with his bag serving as the travel friend. He spends more days in the air than on the ground, going from one capital to another and one place to the next.

His ways of doing business is just to keep travelling, a couple of days in the United States, different but regular days in France, Japan, Italy and Belgium. It’s a rollercoaster of activities but its taking its toll on him as he plainly looks haggard. But he says there is no way of getting the business on the internet, so far now its travel and travel.

Let’s face it as well modern communications has come to mean we are a travelling world, cutting across cultures, seeing new people and moving to different destinations. This is the life.

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alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 3 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

Interesting, Marwan, although it concentrates very much on the 20th-21st Centuries.

We had mobility in Britain, particularly in England, up to the Conquest. It was William and his heirs who preferred to have their subjects more or less 'bolted to the floor' in the countryside.

A 'villein' (not a villain, although it might have the same stem) lived in his lord's demesne and it was a punishable offence for him to try to escape 'his lot'. He could be thrown into a dungeon and left to die there of starvation, unless the rats and other 'small vermin' got him first. If he could make it to the town or city and live undetected for a year or so, then he was free.

Citizens under Norman/Angevin/Plantagenet rule were effectively free to come and go as they wanted. During the Plantagenet era, in Richard II's time things changed. We had the Plague, brought in by black rats that had boarded ship in India and been brought here to Southampton. Wat Tyler and a few hundred others marched on London, bringing the Peasants' Revolt closer to the eyes of Londoners and the crown than they cared. Their cause was in achieving better wages. After all there were fewer craftsmen and land workers since about two thirds of the population had died of Bubonic Plague. Tyler was murdered at Smithfield by one of Richard's nobles, but the 'germ' was planted and tied peasantry were a thing of the past by the days of the late Plantagenets. Universal mobility didn't come about, as you say, until the days of the 'Transport Revolution', at first with stage coaches (limited numbers, third class passengers sat outside and froze in winter!) and then the railways.

Of course sea travel had been open to the masses before then, to the Americas, India, the Dutch East Indies or Australia. It was dangerous even in the days of steamships (witness 'Titanic'), but there was a greater freedom for the masses. For some there was no choice, as they saw it, as when Irish and Scots left these islands for the Americas, southern Africa and Australia.

Us English? Well, we're EVERYWHERE, aren't we?


marwan asmar profile image

marwan asmar 3 years ago from Amman, Jordan Author

You are right. Somebody interested in history would have all these points. Ken Follet, in a couple of his novels does point a vivid picture of the movement of people during the Middle Ages, not only inside England but in Europe as well. I point him out because I get the feeling that his books are based on historical research.

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