Approximately many years ago, I started a blog. The second post on said blog was about holidays and how, as a concept, they are ridiculous, self-indulgent and pointless things. It got very few views and I have since deleted said blog, which works in my favour as I can practically regurgitate it here. Unfortunately, it is a double-edged sword (a confusing phrase as I personally see nothing but benefit from such a sword) in that it’ll probably get no views a second time around.
Having written many books in my life, none of which have been published, my nan of all people said to me, “well, you need life experience to write a good book, you haven’t really got any of that.” Which is odd considering I was in a county battle of the bands winning band at the age of 16 that did many a gig, have dabbled in stand-up comedy and been an extra in many films meeting many people, been to university, gotten engaged to a charming and beautiful woman, had some sort of mental breakdown, stopped being engaged, accidentally got a job in IT despite having no business working with computers, got fired from a job in IT for instigating an office wide rap battle and am currently living through what can only be described as a global political shit storm. Apparently, none of that counts as life experience to my nan who spends most of her days sitting down.
It’s also an odd statement that has been uttered by various people in the past. And it’s true, you do need life experience to write a book. After all, if it wasn’t for JK Rowling’s rich childhood at a prestigious wizarding school, we wouldn’t have that global franchise. If Alexander Dumas had not been falsely imprisoned for close to a decade, before snatching up a sword to go out for revenge, The Count of Monte Cristo would not have sat on my shelf for years without being read. Would we remember the name Kenneth Grahame had he not gone on holiday with an anthropomorphic river rat, mole and badger and had many an unfortunate run-in with an aristocratic toad?
So, in a bid to have some life experience, I did what most people consider ‘experience’ and got on a plane for 7 hours to look at buildings in another place. This place was Boston. The American one. A friend repeatedly stated that he ‘needed a holiday’, and none of my reasonable remarks about holidays being very close to the top of the pyramid of necessity did anything to dissuade him from this delusion. So, like every eventual enabler, I submitted and said I’d join him on a trip to the states and he let me pick a particular area.
My rudimentary knowledge of the United States of America led me to the belief that as Boston is effectively where this whole USA business started, it must be a very interesting, lively and generally exciting place. As it turns out, throwing some tea into a river is about the most interesting thing that’s ever happened in that sorry city.
I stayed in some house share that felt like a student dorm, which some might consider bohemian. You might think this put me in a great position to meet new and interesting people. Perhaps even find love. Alas, the reality is I am unlovable and all such arrangements really led to were lengthy queues for the one and only shower.
I did some tours, learned some history which largely confirmed my knowledge and drank some coffee. Many people informed me that America had good food. They were, on the whole, largely mistaken.
In short, I saw some buildings in another place.
They weren’t even that impressive.
And yet, this is what most people seem to live for. Swiping endlessly on various dating apps, I have seen over and over again, “love to travel” or words to that effect. What is it about this dull activity that people love? Do they get enjoyment from seeing the other buildings? Do they enjoy being cramped into a metal tube, nestled between two fat bearded men chugging bloody marys for 7 and a half hours enjoyable?
People come back from places such as China, raving of their experiences. When I enquire as to what they did, it largely involves more buildings and highly regulated tours that start and end at precise times. There is little ‘adventure’ if that’s really what people crave, though I have my doubts. Most holiday stories end in a restaurant, which is not befitting the moniker of adventure. I’d say getting lost in a forest and having to kill a man to steal his trousers counts as an adventure, but it always gets crossed off any itinerary I produce.
What I believe people mean when they say they love travel is that they like sitting on a beach. And yet, when I offer to buy people a bag of sand so they can relive the experience they look at me funny.
The worst phrase is ‘I need a holiday.’ Nobody needs a holiday. If you’re in a position where going on holiday is a feasible idea, than you are privileged. No one needs a holiday from that. As for ‘escaping it all’, what are you escaping? If you’re unhappy, that unhappiness will follow. You can’t run away from yourself!
In conclusion. Boston is shit. No one go there.
I was going to include some photos, but you know… just buildings innit.