via Ambro/freedigitalphotos.net/not related to Arab News
Airports are chaotic places. They are noisy, stressful, and unorganized. It is where people bump into each other filled with different hopes, dreams, fears, and feelings. It is where scents collide; languages mix, and sounds form an orchestra of endless tones.
Despite waiting in queues, uncomfortable planes’ seats and hotels’ beds, jet lag and expensive meals, we long to travel, to escape the monotony of daily routine.
Why do you travel? Ask this question and expect to be overwhelmed with a long list of reasons: To reduce stress, change environment, for adventure, to meet new people, and to study arts and history. We travel “to escape into open solitudes, into aimlessness, into the moral holiday of running some pure hazard, in order to sharpen the edge of life, to taste hardship, and to be compelled to work desperately for a moment no matter what,” says George Santayana in his beautify written letter “The Philosophy of Travel.”
Saudis love to travel. We may not make top the list like Germans, Britons, Americans, Japanese, Chinese, and Australians but if you talk about the Middle East, we are all over the place. Just ask Cairo (back in the days), Beirut (before its politics went crazy), Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Bahrain, Casablanca, and London about Saudis roaming their streets, malls and cafes.
We do share some of the reasons of why we choose to travel with the rest of world; breaking routine and changing scenery tops the list. Add to it some simple pleasures like going to the cinema and you might sum up all the reasons of why up to 80 percent of the Saudis travel. Art, history and engaging with cultures are not usually part of our travel plans that if we have a plan to start with! I know those who visit Egypt regularly and what they know about the pyramids is only that pharaohs built those structures, those who know the Harrods but not the British Museum, the Times Square but not the plays on Broadway, the Galleria Vittorio but nothing about the Colosseum.