Posted by: travelrat | June 29, 2017

Travel Theme: Abroad

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‘Abroad’ isn’t a word I use very often, because, not only has it a number of meanings, but they can change according to where you are! If you take the first definition ‘ … in or to a foreign country’ … could I be said to be ‘going abroad’ if I travelled to Scotland or Wales? Or even Ireland? Time is a factor, too. If someone who lived in Prague decides to go to Bratislava, he’s travelling to another country, therefore ‘going abroad’.

But, not too long ago, he wouldn’t be, because the two cities were in the same country, Czechoslovakia.

In Europe, anyway, I don’t think much regard would be paid to this. When I lived in Germany, we visited several other European countries but, apart from the different currencies (this was in the pre-Euro days) there was little sense of ‘going abroad’ … even my morning run took me into the Netherlands sometimes.

Another definition, though, is ‘ … at large; over a wide area’ … and that is a usage I’m happier with. Only the other day, I was talking to an American visitor, who told me. ‘ … we took a vacation at least once a year; more since we retired. Always in the United States though, but we did go somewhere different each time; in fact, we’ve visited each state in the ‘lower 48’. I’m 74 years old and, apart from service in the Army, this is the first time I’ve been out of the US’   I don’t think he could say he hadn’t ‘been abroad’ though.

Over here, we’d call that a (horrible word!) ‘staycation’ Now, whoever coined that word (may the fleas of a thousand camels infest his armpits!) intended it to mean staying in your own home, and just doing day-trips. In this country, it’s come to mean spending your holidays within the United Kingdom … it’s not that long ago, everyone who wasn’t a millionaire did that.

You’re still going abroad, though … I have a Funk & Wagnall dictionary which gives a third meaning ‘ … out of one’s own house or abode’  So, there you have it, folks. Even if you just take the dog for a long walk, you’re ‘going abroad’.

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This week’s contribution to the Travel Theme. More at https://wheresmybackpack.com/2017/06/26/travel-theme-abroad/

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