Here’s an an opinion piece I wrote for The Scotsman newspaper last week.
Walk into a travel agency today and you will be offered the usual array of bargain trips to beach resorts, luxury cruise vacations and weekend getaways to romantic cities. But the founder of the most successful travel company of the nineteenth century had a very different idea of what a holiday should be all about. He was a lay Baptist preacher named Thomas Cook, who organised his first package tour in 1841, taking five hundred working people on a twenty-two mile train trip from Leicester to Loughborough to attend a temperance meeting, where pious ministers called on them to abstain from the demon drink.
Although this may not be your idea of the perfect holiday break, Cook believed that travel should not just offer leisurely respite from a routine job, but give you a chance to question your values and how you live. ‘To travel is to dispel the mists of fable and clear the mind of prejudice taught from babyhood, and facilitate perfectness of seeing eye to eye,’ he said.
If we want to embrace Cook’s original vision, we need to invent a new kind of travel which provides an adventurous and inspiring approach to the art of living…
Read the rest of the article here.