Dress Down Friday

Michael Palin got my job

In last Sunday’s Times Magazine, there was a travel piece by Robin Morgan who last year lived his lifetime ambition to travel alone, and purely for pleasure. He chose to ride the California Pacific Coast Highway on one of these:


I know nothing about motorbikes and have never ridden anything other than a ‘twist-and-go’ in Magaluf back in the late-80s. That ended with a severed quadriceps and a trip to a Majorcan hospital, but not before I’d paid the ambulance driver a few hundred pesetas upfront. Nevertheless, the attraction of Morgan’s adventure is obvious and you don’t have to be Barry Sheene to know that this chunk of British engineering is what west-coast beach bums would call “cool”. I mean, we’re only talking Steve McQueen and Jimmy Dean…

Reading Morgan, it occurred to me that, for all my solo business-related travelling, I, too, have never travelled alone for pleasure, although I’ve often thought about what I might do and where I might go if I ever get the opportunity. Walking the Appalachian Trail is definitely on the agenda, as is riding the trans-Siberian railway. I’d also like to take part in the world’s biggest tomato fight, do all the holy land sites and cross the Sahara. White-water rafting anywhere would be good but about the only cruise I would contemplate would see me floating around Alaska.

If I’m perfectly honest, however, the first must-do travel experience wouldn’t be sampled alone. It would be with my wife as we were swept to Venice on the Orient Express. It’s what democratic socialists do these days. And if a fellow passenger could have the decency to be murdered along the way, so much the better.