One of my lasting childhood memories is of saying farewell to my mother's cousin when she set sail for New Zealand. She had been offered a job in Wellington, which must have seemed very exciting for a young woman living in austere Britain in the 1950s. The voyage took several weeks and it literally took her to the other side of the earth. I remember feeling very sad at the thought I might never see her again.
In fact it was ten years before she returned to England for an extended leave of six months. In the 1960s air travel had become affordable with the introduction of jet-powered aeroplanes, and her visits became quite frequent. I used to think that the inventors of the jet engine and the jumbo jet should be made saints for reuniting families. Cheap air travel has been wonderful for family holidays. At airports families heading for the sun always lift my spirits.
However, I do wonder how long we will be able to travel so frequently for leisure purposes. We are undoubtedly using up our planet's resources, which are not replaceable, and we are polluting our environment into the bargain. This down side of travel rather takes the edge off my rosy picture. It seems that even holidays can create a moral dilemma. But whatever the answer to that may be, the family and taking time out to be together should always be high in our priorities, even if we have to stay at home.