An imaginary vacation
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Just been listening to a quiz on BBC4-extra (Whispers), and wondered what answers our Dragoneers would give to the question they have just asked, namely:
Who, from all of history, would you most like to go on vacation with?
For myself I could make a case for nominating Marianne North, who travelled the world painting plants. Most of her paintings can be seen in an immensely crowded gallery in Kew Gardens.
>1 hfglen: Oh dear. What an interesting question! Need to think about this a bit.
How about who wouldn't I like to go on vacation with? I think that for me all the famous travellers are out for one reason or another. I travel a fair bit but I'm risk-averse (or, putting it less kindly, a coward) and I like things to work. So the likes of Peter Fleming or Dervla Murphy or Patrick Leigh-Fermor are out. All too adventurous. So is Samuel Johnson, because I doubt if I could put up with him for long enough. Great writer but not a comfortable travelling companion.
In all of history? Oy. I know I should pick someone legendary or luminous, but I can’t think of anyone I’d rather meet than my maternal grandmother who died when my mom was only 15. She was born in 1899, learned to drive a car, smoke and got her own job to support herself. That’s because she didn’t get married until she was about 30. Woah Nellie what an old maid!! Then after her first husband died (my mom’s dad, she was 2) she remarried an asshole who hit her. Divorce.
Divorce??? In the 1950s?? No way. But she did it and proceeded to raise her daughters alone (my mom had an older sister although I think she was married by this time). She had guts, humor and a love of nature that has been passed down to me. Along with her dimple. I just wish I got her gorgeous light-blue eyes, too.
>3 Bookmarque: Sounds like my maternal grandmother who I met but don't remember (she died when I was very young). She met my grandfather when they were living in the same boarding house in London after WWI, and they married in the teeth of his father's opposition (she was (a) French and (b) Catholic). My grandfather died when my mother was 8, and Nana eventually remarried to give Mum a father (my great-grandfather only grudgingly supported them). However, that marriage didn't last long before it broke down, and divorce ensued - in the 1930s!
Nana was rather Bohemian - she mixed with an arty set, and was asked to be a model for Colgate toothpaste (she declined - it would have caused a permanent rupture with her father-in-law). In her youth, she'd studied at the Paris Conservatoire as a singer (but didn't make the grade), and came to London to work as an embroideress.
A very interesting thought. The first answer that popped into my mind was, Umberto Eco. I think he would be a very interesting person to holiday with and if you wanted to know about any other person in history he would probably be able to inform you of what you want to know or tell you were you could get that information.
The holiday would consist of endless meal and drinks in pleasant surroundings talking about everything under the sun.
>3 Bookmarque: My first thought was my maternal grandfather. He was gentle and honorable, loved reading and had a subtle sense of humor. My parents married on a Thursday evening and Grandpa died of a sudden heart attack the next morning.
No question here -- MrsHouseLibrary. She loved to travel, and I love her (still) and whereas I personally never wanted to go anywhere, she always made it an adventure. Now all I've got is about 2 dozen scrapbooks full of pictures and her comments. Very few of those pictures have her in them. Happy, happy, happy. I miss that, too.
Otherwise, my father. We went through some rough times, and the last 20 years was all about reconciliation, and there were no unresolved issues for the last 15 or so, so I consider myself very lucky. Still, there are lots of things I'd like to ask him, like when did he learn to play the harmonica (which he did only once when I was a teenager), and why he stopped writing poetry (recently discovered notebook with 14 poems --2 in Latin) my younger brother found some 30 years ago and stashed in his closet.) Dad died in 1997. My mother (the last relative of that generation) died in August 2018 (3 months before my wife.)
As for where -- a very long train trip, or perhaps, the far-flung Isles of Langerhans.
Hugs to you,dear man. Strength and peace to you in the face of such overwhelming loss.
I was think famous people, until a couple of you mentioned grandmothers.
I would love to travel with my grandmother when she was in her prime. I was fortunate enough to have a glorious one-week coastal trip with her when I was nine. We stopped and got out of the car wherever it was possible, walking in the rocky tide pools or just staring at the ocean. My grandmother was interested in everything and had extensive knowledge of local plants, animals, geography and history.
As for the celebrity, at first I considered Anthony Bourdain. But upon consideration, I think he was probably funner to watch than to be with. So my next thought was Julia Child. I think I would enjoy her curiosity about everything. As a living companion, I might like Marcus Samuelsson.
I like to people-watch when on vacation, and make up stories about the people I see and what I imagine they are like and what is going on in their lives; so I think I would enjoy traveling with Agatha Christie.
>10 MrsLee: OOh, Marcus Samuelssen is a good idea. I thought Bourdain, too, but I doubt I could keep up with him (especially the drinking).
I have to give this some serious thought. Anyone is a lot of people.
On the general idea of grandparents: the only one of my grandparents that I ever actually met was my father's mother. I vaguely remember a "very old" lady (I was about 2 at the time, and she would probably have been in her late 60s). The rest of them were gone long before I was born. My mother's mother died in 1918, said to have been in the influenza epidemic; I don't actually know who my mother's father was (no father is named on her birth certificate), but I have a strong suspicion who he was and if I'm right he was killed in France in 1917.
So I'd say I have to resort to famous people. I note that hfglen's question says "from all of history", so fictitious people are presumably not allowed.
Here's a slightly left-field one: How about a tour of the railways of Great Britain with Isambard Kingdom Brunel? (Problem: he was a heavy cigar smoker.)
>16 majkia: That is exactly who I was going to say! I feel confident that he would get use into lots of hair-raising situations, but that I could also rely on him to get us out of them safely. And I am sure that there is nowhere we could go that he would not have an interesting anecdote (or ten!) about.
(N.b. I would need a body upgrade to cope with that trip.)
On a more personal level, I want to go back to my birthplace with my parents. I left as a small enough baby that I have no memories of it. They always intended to take me back there, but died before they could do so.
I’d like to go with someone who likes to sit at cafes drinking coffee while gazing at striking architecture unlike that at home. And who likes to read while doing so. And then to savor a delicious meal, which includes red wine and cheese. And who loves museums. I don’t know exactly who the best person for this in all of history would be, but they would be a lot like me!
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