Hello, world. I’m MacDara Conroy, and this is my blog.

Friday Five #57

*1. What’s the last place you traveled to, outside your own home state/country?*
I haven’t been out of the country since I went to Canada in the spring of 2002. That might sound like a long time to you, but I’m not the kind of person who needs to have a foreign holiday within a certain timeframe every year like clockwork. Besides the fact that I can’t afford it most of the time, I travel because I _want_ to, not because I feel obligated to.
*2. What’s the most bizarre/unusual thing that’s ever happened to you while traveling?*
If I were more well-travelled, I might have some stories to tell. But alas, I’m not, so I don’t. Sorry to disappoint you. In my travels so far I have yet to experience anything remotely bizarre or unusual. (Of course one could make the argument that anything foreign counts as unusual, but that doesn’t hold water for me, frankly.)
*3. If you could take off to anywhere, money and time being no object, where would you go?*
That’s easy. I’d swing by Johannesburg to pick up Benitha and head east, far east, to explore Japan. Spend a month, maybe two, traversing the islands, immersing ourselves in the culture, drinking in the sights and sounds.
*4. Do you prefer traveling by plane, train or car?*
It depends. If I had to pick, I would say that I prefer travelling by train. Yet every situation is different, so don’t take this as a universal declaration.
Planes are fast, and necessary for most international travel, but they’re expensive, and uncomfortable. They’re far too cramped, and the air is bad. Even after a short flight, I usually feel out of sorts. (Although the plane might not be to blame for this; I could just be experiencing the symptoms of soul-delay.)
Cars are good, but a good journey by car — or _road trip_, in the vernacular — is conditional on three main factors:

  1. Provisions: snacks and drinks, places en-route to stop for food, bladder relief, etc.
  2. Music: the car must have a working stereo, and everyone must get an opportunity to play something; this should be agreed upon beforehand (see #3).
  3. You and your fellow traveller(s) must get on really well, since arguments in such an enclosed environment are not conducive to an enjoyable experience. Any disagreements should be worked out prior to undertaking the journey, for everyone’s sake.

Travelling by train, as long as you’re not commuting, is often a pleasure, especially in Europe and — if you’re willing to put up with some delays — North America. (One rail journey in particular that I cannot wait to make is that from Los Angeles to San Francisco; I hear the views are literally breathtaking.) Most journeys by train are undoubtedly more enjoyable than their equivalents by road: a more relaxed atmosphere coupled with better scenery makes for a tastier recipe. And besides, there’s a certain romanticism about rail travel that has yet to die, something that neither the car nor the plane have been able to take away from it.
*5. What’s the next place on your list to visit?*
In less than 11 days from now, I’ll leave here to spend a week in South Africa, to see the sights and spend some quality time with Benitha. I’m like a giddy schoolgirl, I’m so excited! I haven’t felt like this for a while. It’s a good feeling.