Towards the end of January 1788 the first European settlers landed in Australia. They’d left the UK the previous May and arrived, after eight months at sea, to the heat of a southern summer.

Pictures of Australia today show sunshine in Melbourne at the Australian Open tennis after a red dust storm last week and weeks of bush fires. Tennis players jet-set around the world week by week to hit a fuzzy yellow ball back and forth across a net. Their long-haul travels to the court, as well as around it, are speedy and efficient.

In these days of carbon-footprint awareness we may think twice before setting out on long-distance travels. It wasn’t by choice that convicts were sent to far-flung places in the 18th century. In the 21st century we have more choice, whether as business men and women or holidaymakers. The world is more accessible but with that privilege comes responsibility and we each have to work out how and where we travel.

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, “For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” A response to that may be what Irishman George Moore, wrote, “A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.”

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