A Few Thoughts on the Wonders of Modern Day Travel — Long-Distance and Otherwise

I still find it hard to grasp that tonight I’ll go to bed on Maui, tomorrow night I will be in Los Angeles, and on Wednesday, after a fine dinner with my niece and her husband, I’ll crawl into bed in London. (Tuesday night will be spent at 35,000 feet somewhere over the Arctic Circle, but let’s not dwell on that.)
I still consider all that to be semi-miraculous, which is no doubt a generational thing. That niece of mine bops back and forth between Seattle and London without giving it a thought. Of course, it’s quite different living in Hawaii. Any trip to anywhere outside of these islands automatically adds at least a five-hour jet flight to the time it would take you to get there.
It’s 2500 miles from here to California; 2700 miles due south to Tahiti; 2800 miles north to Anchorage; 4,000 miles to Tokyo; 5200 miles to Beijing … well, you get the idea. If you live in Hawaii, you’re a helluva long way from anywhere. We really can’t complain, of course. We’ve chosen to live in the most remote populated spot on the globe.
That reminds me of a sure-fire winning bar bet: What’s the southernmost state in the U.S.? Most people will say Florida. Wrong. Hawaii is the answer. But give them a second chance by asking which is the westernmost state. They will probably say Hawaii and they’ll be wrong, again. It’s Alaska. (After all, you can see Russia from there, right?)
Finally, and I’m sorry for ending this on a depressing note, all of this geography trivia calls to mind an on-the-street interview conducted by the host of a comedy TV game show. He was asking general knowledge questions of a semi-scruffy young man apparently in his mid- to late-2os, and the poor lad was not doing very well. Finally, just to make sure the young man could save face and not go away empty-handed, the host asked one final question: “What’s the name of the country where Canadians live?”
The fellow looked blank for a moment, then brightened. “Canadia?” he asked, hopefully.