NOT Barcelona April 2010

Today should have been my day for blogging about my latest trip to Barcelona and perhaps for posting a few new pictures from Las Ramblas or the waterfront - Eyjafjallajokull saw that off.

I’m going to pass on speculating about whether this is the Icelandic economy getting its revenge or even whether this is really how the Gaia hypothesis is going to work.

The ash cloud from Eyjafjallajokull has, for me, had a few positive consequences, although various friends who are either stranded overseas or have long haul trips in the very near future are probably struggling to see any positives.  It’s given me a chance to play with the new camera I eventually got via Amazon last Monday (the last mile really does still challenge the online shopping process), to buy a decent lens to go with the camera (from a bricks and mortar dealer), and to reflect on the assumptions I make about the ease of air travel.

Over the last three years I’ve made something like 30 international trips that involved flying.  At the slightest provocation I’ll head for an airport clutching my passport and, despite grumbling about the fact that yet again I’ve not got a free upgrade, I’ll sit back and wait for the plane to push back and look forward to the new sights I’ll be seeing in a few hours.
The extended closure of UK (and most of northern and central Europe) airspace for the last four days with the prospect of ‘normal’ service being a considerable way off really does start to challenge assumptions about being able to do this. A number of travel bloggers have started talking over the weekend about the "end of air travel for several months" or even a "return to the 1900s (but this time with Web 2.0)" - this might be a bit over the top but it does provoke thoughts about doing stuff more slowly.  I'm not quite sure that my soul moves at the speed of a camel, but the assumption that heading off around the world should mean long haul flights and jet-lag might need to change.  In recent months I’ve mused about going round the world by train or going on safari by boat.  Both of these examples are quite do-able now although the competition for the limited spaces might get a bit tougher and I'm going to need to ask my boss for much longer vacations.

In the short term, I’m certainly looking forward to heading for my next US conference by liner from Southampton, rather than by Airbus from Heathrow.

Or more likely attending by video conference from my desk. :-(

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