Monday, April 19, 2010

Volcanoes and vacations

I am scheduled to go on vacation later this week. To Latvia. My excitement about this has been greatly tempered by the Icelandic volcano and the havoc it continues to wreak on air travel. As someone who journeyed on her first transatlantic flight at age 12, it is almost inconceivable that planes have been grounded for so many days and that no one knows for certain when full schedules will be possible again.

Anne Applebaum has a great piece in Slate today about this very topic: She writes: In fact, "European integration," as we have come to understand it, turns out to be utterly dependent on reliable air travel. Over the last two decades—almost without anyone really noticing it—Europeans have begun, in at least this narrow sense, to live like Americans: They move abroad for work, live for a while in one country, and then move to another, eventually going home or maybe not. They do business in countries where they don't know the language, go on vacation in the Mediterranean and the Baltic, visit their mothers on the weekends. Skeptics who thought the European single market would never function because there would be no labor mobility in Europe have been proved wrong.

I know of so many Europeans who work and live in other European countries or elsewhere in the world, and of so many Americans who work and live in other countries. I myself have thought nothing of spending periods as long as three months or as short as three days in Latvia, just by hopping on a plane. Although I feel that I've always appreciated the ready availability of modern air travel, I definitely appreciate it even more so now.

For the time being, the airline's website and and various news outlets will be my best friends as I wait for news about the resumption of regularly scheduled flights....mine in particular!

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