If it Int In Yorkshure It Int Wurth Visitin'

by GringoSam

Yorkshire folk have long been slated for having deep pockets and short arms. In fact, when you Google ‘Yorkshireman travelling’, the first story you’ll stumble across is one of a Mr. Howard Josephson using his free bus pass to swindle fourteen connected bus trips over three days which would take him the mere 200 miles from Leeds to London. When a direct train ticket over the same distance costs £14 and would have saved 70 hours of Mr. Josephson’s time, one begins to see where Yorkshire’s undesirable reputation comes from. So, when I was born in York District Hospital in 1990, Ecuador was probably the last place the midwife would have put money on me ending up. That is, if she had the gene-defying audacity to put £5 on anything at all.

As anybody who likes to travel will know, there are perhaps one or two occasions every year when you sit back and think the following:

1. Where the heck am I?

2. What ridiculous sequence of decisions in my life ever led me here?

3. Pretty cool though, huh.

Well this philosophical moment hit me most recently this weekend when I was on a clapped-out ferry, crossing between the indigenous villages of San Vicente and Bahía de Caráquez on the Ecuadorian coast. The fact that Will Smith’s 1998 hit ‘Gettin Jiggy With It’ was playing over the tannoy system only served to make the picture more surreal. So it was on that rickety vessel that I sat back and wondered just how many Yorkshiremen have ever made this very journey – was I perhaps the first? If so, is that any great achievement or just the long-anticipated confirmation that I am indeed an oddball? Either way there I was amongst the jaded South American locals, the warm gusts of the Pacific Ocean leaving my hair resembling that much-coveted Oscar Gamble look.

Before you get false illusions of Columbus-esque voyages, we should probably consider the sobering mathematics of travel probability. Even if any one place is a far-flung and unlikely destination, there are thousands of such places on our planet and we’re all likely to visit a few of them over the years. So effectively what I’m saying is that we’re all likely to end up somewhere unlikely. I’ll name this GringoSam’s Paradox.

And for those of you wondering quite how I managed to get to Ecuador on a shoestring budget typical of my home county, you can find the answer with Yorkshire Airlines who market themselves as ‘the affordable Ryanair’:

We’d love to hear about a time when our readers have ended up somewhere quite remarkable, somewhere you had never pictured yourself being. It doesn’t even need to be abroad – after all, Newport is as perplexing and foreign a place as any for us to end up isn’t it?!

Being a pretty rubbish Yorkshireman myself, I can’t boast to have travelled to South America for free; although I did manage the journey in fewer than fourteen connections. The same cannot be said for Mr. Josephson however, we’re expecting him sometime in early 2011…