Thursday, August 07, 2008

Slouching Towards Oslo

Robert Louis Stevenson, wrote in 1881
"To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, and the true success is to labour."
He was either using travel as a metaphor for love and life, or else he was a wide-eyed masochist.

I spent five hours this afternoon sleeping off a journey yesterday that certainly wasn't a joyful experience.

I awoke (in the loosest possible sense of the word) at 04:00 to drive to the airport to catch the 06:00 to Amsterdam. Did I want to go to Holland? No. Did I want to go South East? No, I wanted to go North East to Norway, but air travel doesn't work like that.

There was a 30 minute delay getting to Schiphol and I ended up having to run around, over and through large slow-moving families to get to me and my sweaty shirt to the connecting flight on time. Had an uninspiring combo of cheese and raspberry jam sandwiches on the first flight and exactly the same on the second.

Once in Oslo I had to catch a train and a connecting bus to get to my meeting. The intention was to sell my mind and body to a major telecom company for a period of time. By the time I got to their office, my body was sweaty and tired and my mind was totally shot thanks to the early start. I waffled, umm'ed, ah'ed and generally proved I knew nothing about web servers in a meeting room overlooking a fjord.

Then I turned straight around and made the reverse journey. Except this time I had an absurd amount of time between connections and did the Duty-Free-Zombie-Shuffle. As a respite from insipid sandwiches I had a marvellous hot-dog in Oslo and a much-needed Starbucks Frappuccino in Amsterdam.

This is the modern travelogue - you pass through places you didn't want to go and hardly notice them. To update Stevenson's quotation for the present-day :-
"Are we nearly there yet ?"
There is no contemporary translation for the rest of the quote because "success" and "Labour" have become strangers these days.


Flitcraft said...

I think that's the excellent Robert Louis Stevenson you've got in mind there.

Nice piece though - sorry the interview was a pain!

Stan said...

Now corrected - thank you Edinburgh ! Knew you'd be looking out for one o' yer ain.