Many think I’m crazy for traveling overland instead of flying from one destination to the next. Seriously, would you rather spend 24 hours the bus when the same can be done for an hour on the plane? It’s fast, convenient and thanks to budget airlines like Scoot and AirAsia, cheap!
Especially if you’re a Singaporean. After all, we’ve been accustomed to winning best airport in the world on a yearly basis, so we have every reason to jet around everywhere. The irony of air travel, however, is that it narrows our view of the world. By air, we’re merely hopping from one place to the next. In saving time, we only have our heads in the clouds. And sadly, that’s where I observe a uniquely Singaporean complacency. Long-haul buses and trains are associated with the status quo. If I can afford to fly, why do I need to travel by road or rail?
Embarking on a bus or train journey shows you how big the country is. The ride is usually punctuated by a hut here and a herd of cows there. Boredom does set in especially when the highway is winding through a plantation, but many times the simplest detail can be the most surprising. What is that orchid doing in the midst of the rows of palm trees?
I think what we seek is speed and efficiency, even when we’re on a vacation. When we reach that holiday destination, we just want to see what was promised in the brochures. That’s it. Technically speaking our vacations are already limited by our company’s annual leave, so we should hurry up to rest. We have forgotten how to take it easy, just plough through our trip efficiently.
The key is in the journey, not the destination. Through this journey, you’ll be crossing many splendid sceneries, but local people and travelers like you. The travel brochures only show you what you paid for - nothing more, nothing less. The reward comes in mingling, especially on long rides across provinces, states and even continents. This makes for a more fulfilling visit.
Sadly, I still believe most will choose to fly.