The influence of travel…

The influence of travel…

CCIC has always been about insuring your adventurous travel…

When I consider what, for me, allows Cross Country Insurance Company to stand out, it is all about travel. Back in the mists of time (pause to giggle), when I was first introduced to the company, the brand positioning was all about a company that would insure your travels and adventures, even (or especially) if they took you off the beaten track. Whilst that remains as a core offering, the company has grown and expanded, and now offers so much more. However, in my humble opinion, travel still remains a core interest of the vast majority of our clients. It is also why my mandate as the CCIC wordsmith for this newsletter encompasses travel and the many places, animals and concepts that you could encounter on said travels.

So much travel to be done, so little time…

Pondering this, and the nature of travel in general, led me to contemplate the aspects of our lives that travel influences. Today, travel is seen as a way to relax, to explore new areas and experiences. But it occurs to me that there is so much more in our world that owes its existence in our geographical neighbourhood to travel. Travel should be considered a conduit through which various ‘things’ have been brought to us. In the next couple of newsletters, we are going to explore elements of our lives, which we take for granted, that were (somewhat surprisingly) brought to us courtesy of travel. 

Modern travel is more often than not about relaxation.

As a writer, words are core to my trade. They fascinate me and enable me to get a message out to the world in a creative, inspiring and interesting manner. The most basic meaning of the word ’travel’, is ‘to move from one place to another’. To engage in a journey of some sort. The nature of travel has created many words which were previously unknown / did not exist. “Morii”, for example, is a word that denotes “The desire to capture a fleeting experience”.  It is directly linked to our daily existence in the current world of social media, but it goes beyond that. It is also about capturing moments before they slip through our fingers, about reliving the events in our lives that are meaningful. There is a wonderful video about this – the link is in the info block below. Travel is likely the largest contributor to this.

Sunrise and sunset are two of the most commonly captured moments in time.

“Photophilic” refers to “organisms that love or seek the light” (which is, in a way, the way in which cameras function). An evolution of this word resulted in “Photophile”, referring to an individual who is passionate about photography. Never in history has photography been more accessible to everyone, and travel (whether international, local or simply a meander in the local park) has likely produced more photophiles than any other one aspect of our lives.

Photophiles always have a camera at hand.

Another travel-related word is “coddiwomple”, perhaps my favourite of this list – due to its thoroughly quirky nature. To be fair, I have NEVER encountered this word in a piece of writing without some fanfare attached to it. It doesn’t seem to lend itself to casual use. This delicious little word appears to be deliberately used as a topic, as an emphasised word, as something to casually throw into an article to raise otherwise humdrum writing into something a little more interesting. It seems to exist in the ether as a rather unusual and amusing verb, and in lists of usual words, as opposed to simply being another verb used to denote an action – which is “to travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination”.

To travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination.

“Fernweh” is a wanderlust; an ache for distant places or a strong desire to travel. With its origins in the German language, it hails from the words fern (“far”) and weh (“pain”). So, it can literally be translated as ‘far-sickness’ or longing for far-off places. For those of us who live to travel, this is a constant state of being, always puling at your heart strings. Another common feeling for a traveller is “resfeber”, a word of Swedish origin, referring to “the tangled feelings of fear and excitement before a journey begins”. I call them ‘my travel butterflies’.

Images of the desert always created fernweh within me, long before I ever visited one.

Beyond the creation of words to describe states and feelings around travel, words actually travel! An ancient story goes that, centuries ago, in the deserts of North Africa, the Moors used to gather in the moonlight, create music and hold sacred dances that went right through the night until the dawn. It was always an amazing spectacle, as the dancers were professionals. On rare occasions, however, one dancer would become transcendent. It would be as though time had stopped, the universe had aligned, and this one dancer would be lit from within, appearing to have transcended his humanity to become ‘lit with the fire of divinity’. When this occurred, people recognised it and named it, chanting “Allah, Allah, Allah.” (God, God, God.). They recognised the spirit of divinity within the dancer. When the Moors invaded southern Spain, they took this tradition with them, and over the centuries the pronunciation changed to “Olé. Olé. Olé!”. Somewhere along the course of its long history in Spain, the word Olé lost its connection to Allah, but it is still used today where human physicality inspires, such as in bullfights and flamenco dances. Isn’t that fascinating?

Olé. Olé. Olé!

Over the course of history, languages have continually infiltrated each other, evolving, changing and continuously leaving clues of humanity’s travels. Words are/were spread by travel of various kinds, such as conquest, trade, religion, or technology. The word ‘tatau’ means “mark or puncture on the skin”, and was originally a Polynesian word referring to their body art. In 1768, Captain James Cook set off for his first expedition to the South Pacific on his ship, the HMS Endeavour. When they arrived in Tahiti, he was completely entranced with the beauty of the island and its residents. He was particularly struck by the unique, vibrant body art that adorned their skin. Many of the sailors received their own tattoos at the hands of the locals. On his return to England in 1769, Cook published his account of this first journey to Polynesia – using the first documented example of the word “tattoo”, where he describes how men and women would paint or “tattoo” their bodies by inserting black pigment under the skin. Tattoo – a word which literally travelled by boat!

Getting a tattoo – also known as “Getting Inked”.

Have you ever stopped to think about where “colour” comes from? What were the original sources of the materials used in art and where do they hail from? Next week we will explore how “colour” has travelled…

Jacqui Ikin & the Cross Country Team 


Morii: The Desire to Capture a Fleeting Experience:

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