Hello and welcome to the fourth in our Beginner's Guide series.
In this edition we are talking about travel.
Since man could first walk, he has wandered freely, seeking out adventure and experience to broaden the mind.
From the classic family holiday to the trans-Atlantic business trip, travel has become a much needed part of the day to day dealings of the human race.
Whether you are preparing a trip, or indeed just returned, you will find our guide an invaluable source of information.
So here goes, ten things to know about travel...
1. The first person in recorded history to take a holiday was Lester Gerrety, in 1859. After a rather stressful week in the workhouse, Lester decided to take a 6 mile trip to the coast with his family. Returning three days later, colleagues commented on how refreshed he looked. Immediately asking his boss if he could reserve the same three days next year, a legend was born.
2. Ambling is a recognised mode of transport. Popularised in the Victorian era, when gentry were often spotted ambling in parks, and around lakes, the fashion waned in the mid-1900's. The craft experienced a resurgence in early 2001, when groups of teenagers began ambling around shopping centre's, and on street corners, whilst wearing hooded tops and swigging White Lightning cider from plastic bottles. Walking is still officially the most practiced form of human travel in the world. Cycling is a close second, but third on the list is ambling, a trend which seems to be growing with each new generation of disaffected youth.
3. Spain is recognised as the number one travel destination for UK residents. But surprisingly, in a poll conducted by the Food Standards Agency, Spanish cuisine was voted as the Brits least favoured diet. Which is perhaps why fish and chips is now the Spaniards national food!
4. Humans are not the only species to enjoy travel. Cheetah's enjoy yearly sabbaticals, often choosing luxury stays in long grass and eating out on fine zebra, instead of the usual diet of Thomson's gazelle. Worker ants, on the other hand, have not had a holiday since 1942.
5. It is accepted that travel broadens the mind, but don't ever be complacent that all travel is good. Trips to foreign countries in a bid to learn more of the culture and tradition of the native customs is a much respected and highly recommended personal pursuit. But taking a week out in Majorca, eating burgers and puking your evenings binge of lager out, over a backdrop of cackling, half naked clubbers, all to the soundtrack of Ibiza Anthems 2009, is not a mind broadening experience. Nor does it make you a seasoned traveller, such as Michael Palin. If this option appears tempting, we would advise staying at home, and re-thinking your life.
6. The world is getting smaller. With the advent of air travel, the internet and up-to-the-minute, instant media gratification, the world surely is your oyster! This trend has seen a number of people eschew the usual travel modes, and opt for a new 'stay-at-home-holiday' anti-travel policy. The Garibaldi family, of Runcorn, are one such example. They have not ventured out of their home for seven years. Mr and Mrs Garibaldi both work from home, using the internet to earn their money. The weekly shopping is ordered via the web, and delivered to their house. The children have home schooling, again provided over the internet, and the annual family holiday involves pitching a tent in the back garden, and watching Pobol Y Cwm on TV, for that 'foreign feel'.
7. Travelling without moving is impossible, despite the arguments put forth by large hat wearing singer, Jay Kay, from funk rock outfit Jamiroquai.
8. Travel, whilst liberating, fascinating, and educational, can also be dangerous. To head off in to the unknown wilds, packing only a toothbrush and 50 Euros, has been the undoing of many a traveller. Eaten by lions, falling off a cliff and being mugged, buggered and murdered by head-scarf wearing gangs in the upper West Side, are just some of the ways the less wary traveller has met their end. Preparation is key. Before setting off on any journey, be it business or pleasure, always research your destination. Find out the customs of your chosen vacation. You don't want to have your eyes gouged out in a restaurant for asking for more soup, merely because you were unaware that your nonchalant hand-gesture informed the manager you were sleeping with his donkey. Do you?
9. Cat's are the only species of animal (other than man) that are native to every country in the world. We only know this because of the wonders of travel! This was catalogued by famed, short-sighted explorer, Dr Edmund B DeLang in 1856. He travelled the world, visiting every country on every continent, and everywhere he went he saw cats. His journals, which can still be seen in the Museum of Antiquities in Cairo, describe clearly his fascination with travel and anthropology. Interestingly, Dr DeLang only ever depicted ginger cats in his notes. Steven, his ginger tom, accompanied him on his travels, and holds the record as most travelled cat.
10. Fact-flood!! When in the jungle, do not make monkey noises at monkeys. People have been raped, or had their face torn off for this! China is the most un-explored country on Earth. There are parts of it that are uninhabited, even by the Chinese! Smuggling is illegal in every country in the world, despite what the nice man at the airport tells you, as he asks you to 'deliver this for a friend!' Added together, there are more Chinese people in all other countries than there are in China itself!
Join us next time, for The Beginner's Guide Part 5: Ten Things To Know About Sport