Last year, as part of a marketing campaign that we mounted in conjunction with our network of affiliated travel agents throughout the country, we had a series of posters designed that married iconic landscapes from around the world with some great inspirational quotes from people as diverse as the Dalai Lama, J.R.R Tolkien and Steve Jobs. One of my favourites was a quote from Susan Sontag which rather wittily said: ‘I haven’t been everyplace but it’s on my list’.
The whole point of the campaign was to try and persuade consumers to move out of their respective comfort zones and travel to someone different, exotic or remote — particularly if it was a destination that already occupied a place on their bucket list. It’s all too easy after all to make excuses year after year for why we never get around to see the Taj Mahal; swim with dolphins, do the Inca Trail or whatever you’re having yourself, as Marian Finucane always says! You don’t have the time. You can’t afford it. It might be too arduous for you etc. etc. All legitimate reasons to be sure but then what if you wake up one day and have the money and the time but not the body to experience something you’ve always wanted to experience! Life is too short and is not a dress rehearsal. Carpe Diem as the saying goes and be bold.
Which brings me to the subject of this week’s Blog. Hurtigruten is not a brand name that will be familiar to many Irish travellers but they are a big deal up in Norway. Indeed, they were originally called Norwegian Coastal Voyages as they were, in effect the ferry service that connected all the towns and cities that dot the heavily indented (and stunningly beautiful) coastline from Bergen all the way up to far inside the Arctic Circle. Over the years, they have grown their fleet and diversified their programme and itineraries so that they now undertake expeditions to far flung destinations such as Svalbard (Spitzbergen), Iceland, Greenland and of course the Arctic itself. Like all expedition vessels, their ships are converted icebreakers.
They have some amazing deals on offer at the moment if you book before October 31st with discounts as high as 30% and impressive and all as that sounds you’ll be even more impressed when you realise that some of their packages can cost €5,000 and above! This is not the kind of thing that most anyone does every year but like many Bucket List items, it is most certainly worth your while doing it at least one in your lifetime.