There are lots of places I would like to visit before I die.
Mars is not one of them.
For starters, it would take something like nine months just to get there. I don’t have that much vacation time.
And even if the travel could be whittled away by technologies yet to be invented to something approaching a flight to, say, Siberia, there is still the problem of leg room. Although I assume a space capsule would still be more comfortable than a middle seat on a United flight to just about anywhere.
And of course, there is the big issue of what to do when you get to Mars. Surviving is not my idea of a dream vacation. I did that the last time I went to Disney with the kids and it wasn’t all that much fun. And I can only do so many nature walks in 80 below weather.
And then there are the locals. If you believe what you read in SciFi travel brochures, they don’t care all that much for humans.
I realize that space travel to Mars is still a sanity check short of reality, but then so was putting a man on the moon once. And now NASA is planning to build timeshare units on the shores of the Sea of Tranquility. And guys like Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson and Elon Musk are fueling up to be the Princess Cruise Lines of lunar travel. And beyond.
The moon. That is another place I don’t care to visit. The place only lights up at night. I’m not sure what there is to do during the day, and I get bored easily. Still, it is not a stretch to imagine a Trump casino and golf course being built there, with resort shuttle service provided by Space Force One.
I like to do things when I travel. Fun things. Not testing soil samples or rigging solar panels. And I certainly don’t want to wear a space suit to dinner every night. And despite the lure of lower gravity and longer fairways, I am not really much of a golfer.
Yet mysteriously, there are lots of people dying to leave earth. Quite literally. Before it went bankrupt, the interstellar travel agency, Mars One, accepted over two hundred thousand applications from misguided travelers hoping to embark on a one-way trip to the red planet where they could idyllically live out the rest of their Martian days futilely farming dead rocks and contemplating the big mistake they had just made.
Most of us dream of exotic travel destinations. There are those who want to visit all seven continents or ride the length of the Trans-Siberian railway. I have friends who want to sit in every Major League Baseball stadium and friends who long for a bicycle wine tour through the Loire Valley. Some who dream of trekking Machu Picchu or climbing Kilimanjaro. And others who dream of paradise found on isolated, pristine beaches in the Seychelles.
A dream vacation is one that you anticipate long before embarking and one you remember long after you return. A dream vacation requires thoughtful planning and execution so that you don’t sail the Caribbean during hurricane season or hit the slopes in Chile during the winter in New Jersey.
And you definitely don’t want to spend your luxurious week on the French Riviera living out of a suitcase 25 km outside Monte Carlo in a Motel 6.
My idea of a dream vacation is simply spending time with loved ones or friends somewhere visually pleasing with interesting things to do. A good travel vacation for me can be active or sedentary, educational or non-taxing, near or far, exciting or mundane. Just so long as it provides an enticing escape from routine.
Warm weather and drinks with umbrellas are a plus.
Sailing the Celebes? Zip lining in Zimbabwe? Biking in Bhutan? Alliterating in the Aleutians? If there something to do and a cool place to do it, I’m game.
Of course, I haven’t been to any of these places and probably never will.
But I can boast that once after being persuaded by miles and miles of road side advertisements and painted barns enticing me to See Rock City, I actually did. It is located high atop Lookout Mountain. Outside of Chattanooga. You can see seven states.
Spin the globe and set your finger down. If it is not in the middle of the ocean, chances are it is an interesting place to visit.
So leaving earth’s orbit is not really a priority for me. Even if I could book it.
This is all by way of lamenting that I haven’t had a really, really exciting vacation in a long time and regrettably don’t see one on the horizon.
In the meantime, I dampen my longing for adventure by dreaming about Mars.