Friday, 10 April 2015

Leaving Sydney

This week's post is a vignette written by Nora, a dear friend. She has kindly shared her memories of setting out  by ship from Sydney long ago, and how different it felt to today's hectic airport farewells.

I remember as clearly as if it were yesterday, leaving on my first overseas trip. It was a cool, sunny day in October, 1960 and there was a great sense of occasion in the air. My school friend, Jill, and I were about to set off for the holiday of a lifetime, firmly believing that this would
be our only chance to go abroad before settling down to marriage and raising a family. Relatives and friends came with us to town, to wave us goodbye on our adventure. Mum wore a hat, which she didn't often do, and we lined up, suited and well-dressed, my two young cousins clutching balloons, for the obligatory photos.

In those days, guests were allowed on board for final farewells. As the time approached for our ship to sail, visitors were escorted ashore, the band played 'Now is the Hour', streamers were thrown and, as the sun set, the 'Fairsea' moved slowly down Sydney Harbour through the Heads and out on its journey into the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean.


Farewell to Australia - then
We could never have imagined then how different life would become and how commonplace travel would be. Today it seems nothing to go on safari in Africa, a train journey through India, a cruise down the Rhine or a skiing holiday in Japan.

Family and friends no longer gather to wave us goodbye. Airport parking is expensive, check-in is stressful and travellers disappear quickly behind the anonymous walls of immigration, where we endure long queues, questions and scrutiny of our person and belongings, all in the name of security. Then we are herded into the belly of an aircraft  to sit, or sleep if we can, seat-belted up, next to strangers, for tedious hour upon hour while we wait for the journey to end.


 ("Source: Qantas")  Farewell to Australia - now    


Do you have travel memories from an earlier, unhurried time? Do you think we are better off travelling today or have we lost more than we have gained?

30 comments:

  1. It's interesting, especially the comment about how the journey is just something we endure now. Wish I got send off like that more often for sure! Great picture!

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    1. Hi Mama, The problem is, if we all got sent off like that in Sydney today, Macquarie Airports Ltd would be the richest company in the world. Imagine taking the world's most expensive parking fees and multiplying them by, say 10, for every departing traveller.

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  2. I remember as a child, we were expected to get off the airplane all spiffy and clean. So, Mom, she had it figured out. She let us stay in our pajamas across the ocean and a half hour before descent, got us all cleaned up. Grandma and Grandpa couldn't be prouder!

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    1. Ha ha Corinne. The world of fashion does come back to bite us. Half the people in Business Class on Qantas these days (not an end of the plane I see all that often) wear pyjamas for most of the flight. Your mother was way ahead of her time!

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  3. With security so tight these days, its difficult to even remember back to when visitors were allowed to board, or even go to the gate.

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    1. Hi Rhonda, I understand the need for security but it does seem a shame, doesn't it.

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  4. My mum left Australia in 1964 for a trip abroad, fully thinking she'd be back. But she met my dad, an English guy and she didn't make it back for 10 years! I think she flew though, but no doubt all dressed up smart for her big adventure. I went to India by ship in 1972 from Venice as a means of travel and not a cruise! It was my dad's choice as ocean travel was ending and he thought it would be something to cherish. It certainly was. I remember it to this day and think my earliest memories are from that trip. It took 5 weeks as the Suez Canal was closed! Lovely post, please thank Nora for her memories. #wkendtravelinspiration

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    1. Hi Phoebe, D who is an oracle in most things says the Boeing 707s started the jet age and started flying from Sydney without too many stops to London in about 1959. In '64 his neighbour went to San Francisco by ship. It cost the same as the air fare. You are lucky to have such treasured early memories.

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  5. I love the convenience of modern transportation, but don't you miss those time when friends and family would come to wave good bye at the train station or boat?

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    1. Hi Anda, The amount D and I travel I think our friends would get very sick of it. Our boys used to say they could drive to the airport blind folded they have been there so many times. They were the only boys at their school who did NOT want jobs involving travel.

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  6. Indeed, travel has changed so very much in the past 50 years. We just take it for granted hiwceasybitvis to fly across the world in a matter hours! Long ago, a trip like that would have taken weeks, and usually life changing and once in a lifetime. I wonder what the next 50 years will hold.

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    1. Hi Doreen. The prospect of travel in 50 years time is just scary. Luxury resorts on the moon maybe - or under the sea?

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  7. Wish I had been around to travel in the good old days. Your description of travel hassles today is downright frightening, and I leave on a trip to China on Saturday!

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    1. Hi Carole, Haha. Good luck with China. I am told that the airport at Guangzhou is as big as a small city.

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  8. What a lovely piece. I think those days continued for many years - travelling a long way seemed so exotic, and I think in many ways we've lost a sense of wonder about it all.

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    1. Hi Sarah. You are right. There was a sense of wonder, now it just all seems to be about stress.

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  9. It's not always easy to adapt to changes, that aren't always for the better, when you have great memories like this one.

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    1. Hi Nat. That's one of the great things about travel - you have no choice but to adapt.

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  10. Thanks for this guest post. I love reading about how travel was then. I, too, remember getting dressed up to take a trip.

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    1. Hi Irene. We even used to dress up to get on airplanes. It seems so impractical now when all you want to do is be comfortable and sleep but it did bring a real sense of occasion to travelling which we seem to have lost.

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  11. This is a lovely post. Such great memories and reflection on how travel has changed dramatically in a relatively short period of time. When I was at university, a friend and I set off from Perth to Europe for three months - and there was a crowd of friends and families at the airport to see us off. I'm sure nowadays, kids just grab a cab to the airport, Instagramming and texting en route!

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    1. Hi Fairlie, A big problem with airport farewells in Sydney is the cost of parking. Even if you drive someone to the airport it is so much cheaper just to drop them off and run and with check-in being such a hassle there isn't a lot to hang around for. It's such a shame.

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  12. This is such an interesting point of view. I think that we have gained in the fact that we can now easily and quickly travel to destinations across the world, which is probably why more people can travel now. But I do like the fanfare that is described here, so it is a shame to have lost that.

    Thanks for joining in #wednesdaywanderlust this week.

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    1. Hi Malinda, I think you are the first person to say we have gained not lost. Perhaps the rest of us just take ease of travel for granted and assume we can have all the old fashioned romance as well as all the modern conveniences.

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  13. We can't go back, really... which is sad somehow.
    Won't you please come share at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2015/04/at-keyboard.html?

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    1. Hi Sue, A time machine would be great but probably a little dangerous in most people's hands. Thanks for the invite to Wordless Wednesday (Tuesday I'm not sure which). I have posted a link.

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  14. Such a different time now. I guess because travel is more common and there are more security procedures that wouldn't allow visitors beyond certain sections. The only thing that might be something similar is that sometimes people will wait for people to come at the airport and will warmly greet them or offer them a ride home. That's as close as it gets nowadays I think! :)

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    1. Hi Lauren. You are right. We may have lost the art of departures but not warm greetings on arrival.

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  15. Oh how I wish family could still come into the lines with you until you board and are away into the sky. I miss that, it always made farewells seem so much more emotional and happy that you could go into adventure. Wonderful post.

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