So when the chance of taking a coach trip around London came up a couple of summers ago, there were not too many takers in a newsroom dominated by those under 30. Well, I’ll be more precise, there were none.
It was left to me to question why nobody would want a few days in the capital, but let measure you, their loss has proved to be my gain. For reference at that point I was 31, thus comfortably falling outside of the ‘under 30’ bracket.
Ever since that trip to our great capital, taking in the likes of theatreland’s Jersey Boys, tours around the BBC, Kew Gardens and a guided tour of the city’s Wetherspoon’s hotspots from the CTA’s supremo, Chris Wales, things have gone from strength to strength.
That trip proved to be a watershed moment for me and opened my eyes to the fun and enjoyment you can actually have on a coach tour.
It’s so much more than going on a big fancy bus. Young people understandably have a perception that these trips are primarily for those of a certain age, and I refuse to use the term ‘old fogies’, because let’s be honest, you’re never too far away from a group of golden oldies stood at a bus stop awaiting collection. Or when on a day trip to the seaside, there’s always lots of coaches dropping off the ‘old folks’ for their fish suppers and mug of Yorkshire Tea. They often conform to stereotype.
Unless you’re on a school trip or travelling away with your football team, when needs must, why would you travel on a coach for actual pleasure?
Well, here’s the thing. You get taken around in smart, comfortable transport, often picked up from your door, taken everywhere, fed, watered and stay – generally – in very nice hotels. And if like me you love a cup of tea and a biscuit when the clock’s hand moves, you’re never too far away from just that.
There’s a couple more things to note. I went on holiday to Scotland a few years ago. It was fantastic but I did all the driving bar a few hours when I wasn’t feeling so good (nothing to do with the whisky), thus not really seeing too much of the scenery. Fast forward a couple of years and a coach trip to the Borders, I saw everything and didn’t have to worry about pulling over for a glance at Scotland’s breathtaking views, or finding 50p for the parking meter. For someone who lives to a deadline, the only thing I had to concern myself with was being on the coach at a certain time in the morning, and what time to be down for dinner in the evening. I didn’t have to think, plan or organise anything – and I spend my life doing those things, so it made a refreshing and compelling change.
There’s another big thing that would be remiss of me to ignore – the company. Naturally when you spend a fair amount of time in the clutches of others, be it on a coach or sipping a pint in the bar, you get to know them well. It’s a beautiful thing and as humans, believe it or not, we were born to interact and make friends. Even at the age of 33, I’ve still got the ability to do just that despite the fact people seem less intent on communicating now than ever before.
I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy trips to Guernsey, the Isle of Wight, Devon and Cornwall among others which have all been hugely rewarding. None more so than when in Devon, I was afforded the chance of fulfilling a childhood dream and driving a steam train on the South Devon Railway.
While coach trips might not be for everyone, and like anything else, have their pros and cons, my eyes have been opened to what a pleasurable world it can be. Many things in life deserve to be tried at least once – this is most certainly one of those and I’m convinced if more young people tried it, they’d actually enjoy it. Just like me