Friday 18 May 2012: Flying Home
I seem to be doing rather a lot of this at the moment! I posted yesterday's blip from Heathrow this morning and I'm now posting today's blip from home, a shot taken on the flight from London to Manchester. I rather liked the contrast between the cumulus below and the high cirrus above. For me, the very best part of flying is enjoying the privilege of being up in the clouds and seeing the landscape from a whole different perspective.
Air travel makes the world a smaller place, for sure, but it also brings home just how huge our planet is in human terms. I gasp at the size of Heathrow, and the astonishing logistics that keep this mini-city running continuously, dealing with countless thousands of passengers flying in and out every hour of every day. I then gasp further to think that this is just one major airport among hundreds dotted around the globe. Can this level of human mobility possibly be sustainable over time as more and more people in the developing world attain the standard of living where foreign travel becomes both feasible and desirable?
We live today in a thoroughly internationalised world and in many ways this can surely only be a good thing. The more people travel and mix with each other, the more those purely artificial national boundaries are broken down and the greater the understanding will be that we all live together in just this one world. My own family represents a fine example of what seems to be more and more commonplace. My sister started the trend by marrying a Spaniard. I married an American, having met her travelling in New Zealand. My elder younger brother married an Australian and has settled in Tasmania. And, of course, my youngest brother has married an American and settled in Massachusetts.
Perhaps at a deep unconscious level we are drawn to DNA from partners as far removed from our own locality as we can manage. There are strong genetic reasons for such a preference. Now that young people travel so much the opportunity for the widest possible mixing of genes is there - and we seem to be making the most of it. But the price that is paid is that families are spread far more widely. We've nicknamed my mother the globetrotting grannie! She has to spend a lot of time in the air in order to catch up with her far-flung grandchildren.
At a time when I really want to be reducing the size of my footprint on the planet I have a stronger than ever desire to travel, to see more of my brothers and their families, and wanting my own sons to see more of them too. It seems to me that we have to find a way of balancing an increasing globalisation of the planet on one level with an increasing localisation at another level. I'm feeling a bit dislocated this afternoon but also a little overwhelmed by all these contradictions. Sometimes I really do crave a simpler existence and perhaps less sensitivity to the larger dimension of life!
PS Added two shots of the family to my blipfolio with links from yesterday's blip - click here.