Travel: Pockets of Peace

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Renting a mobile home and driving through the far west in the US, or going into the national parks, is also very popular. You get to sense the American dream of the early settlers. You may even think of your favourite western and feel or breathe in its atmosphere.

Many similar options exist in Canada. There you can combine busy, crowded places with peace and quiet in the countryside. In summer time you can go to Vancouver for a few days then rent a mobile home and discover the wilderness of the province of British Columbia. The further away you drive from the city, you will see fewer and fewer people. But don’t go too far north: you may hit snow or ice.

In Canada for example, you can also simply take the trail on foot, spending several days in nature with just your tent and supplies. You can go on your own or in a small group. For security, the local ranger will give you a walky- talky in case of emergency. At night, if it’s your first time, you may be surprised by (and perhaps afraid of) the different voices and noises out there in the dark.

On the luxury side of things African safaris, with a group of friends or family and some local guides, plus cooks and other servants, is very much ‘in’ with the rich and famous. They seek that Out of Africa feeling, embracing the savage, beautiful landscapes then returning at night to be pampered in cosy tents with luxury meals.

Latin America and Russia have no less space for the lone wanderer. With by far the world’s largest populations at 1.3 billion each, even China and India still have their fair share of remote places. When I was stationed in Beijing I remember climbing the remains of the Great Wall of China with a group of expat hikers called ‘The Walkers’. For a whole day we did not see a living soul and we were only a two hour drive from Beijing.

There is no lack of space for a quiet holiday but it is crucial that we keep our ecological footprint small and prove to the generations to come that we have been good caretakers of our earth, whether we like the noisy masses in popular beach resorts or the lone roar of a lion in the African savannah.