Dear mom and dad,
I’m on the train back to Sicily and finally have time to write to you again. I always have to smile when I think about how 30 years ago you told me I was crazy to make these journeys by train. And yes, maybe I was – a little bit. But back then it was a different story.
Can you remember the journey from Sicily to Portugal? It took me five days, and it wasn’t easy to get my employer to pay for it. And the Spanish train, oh dear… with the doors open and the air conditioning broken. Well, different times! Anyway, my night train is hardly recognisable and even in my 60s it is an incredibly comfortable means of travel. Ah, and so quiet and so green with its own solar power on the roof – it’s actually incredible that we didn’t think of it sooner… Well, I almost think it’s a bit of a shame that my pizza routine in Naples is a thing of the past, but at this speed it’s just not worth stopping for pizza anymore. Ah, but the beauty and almost meditative tranquillity of these train trips really hasn’t changed. Only the surrounding scenery would have been unthinkable in my youth. When I stick my nose out of the train window, it smells of blossoms, bushes, woods and simply wonderful nature! I can hear the deer roaring and I’m already looking forward to seeing the dolphins on the coast, finally the Mediterranean is fully populated again! However, we had another bear incident somewhere close to Rome – these incidents seem to be of almost regular nature now. Those bears have spread quite a bit here.
Remember how we used to name each one in the papers because it was such a rarity to see one? Well, maybe my travel radicalism in my 20s was a bit much since it all worked out pretty well, but it was exciting nevertheless. Fortunately, some things never change: the coffee I can get in German trains is every bit as bitter and watery as in those (less) good old days.
Mom, dad: see you very soon, I’ll be offline next week – just like this letter.
– Original version: German –
Wishes and hopes behind the image of the future:
1. “For the future of tourism I hope that…”
it brings valuable experiences to both travelers and hosts, that it always heals nature on the way, that experiencing the journey is part of it and that everyone can afford tourism – financially, time-wise and culturally.
2. “If I could wish for anything at all, I would…”
wish that travelling could also save the world at the same time.
3. “If I were a powerful politician, I would…”
introduce a nature tax on all travel and tourism activities; pass a “tourism-positive-impact” law; promote local tourism; expand and electrify the rail network in Europe; introduce an “impact holiday” allowance from the employer; and introduce a four-day week (then you don’t have to relax so much on your Thailand holiday).