For three years and 147 different articles, I wrote the weekly NZ Herald Travel Bugs column as a self-described “ode to the joys of moaning about your holiday”. Everything from hotel bathroom doors that don’t fully shut, to people who insist on un-clicking their seatbelts before the plane has fully stopped, to puppet shows that redefine the meaning of boredom, to comically bad restaurants, to way too-crammed itineraries, to holiday homes with surprise keepsake placentas in the freezer, to just about any other bug bear of travel you can think of.
The idea was that so many of the most memorable yarns are when things go a little off plan. Even when I’ve been the victim of a Vietnamese taxi scam, had altitude sickness in Guatemala, or been chased by kangaroos in Australia, I’ve always reminded myself it’s usually worth it for the sake of the story I’d get to tell.
When Covid-19 started to sweep the globe in 2020 it became clear that if the only travellers were those frantically trying to get safely home, it was no longer the time to tell those kinds of stories. March 31st 2020 was that 147th and final column and while I’d love to bring Travel Bugs back one day, I’ll be forever grateful to have been given that platform. Ultimately, the column was like a fun weekly dip into my diary from all my years of adventures and mishaps. To have all that stuff now documented in print – much of it among my most cherished adulthood memories – really is a gift.
I’d sometimes be at pains to point out that having the freedom to travel, to explore the globe and to meet new people was a privilege. Even within the framework of a column called “Travel Bugs”, I wanted readers to know that travel was not something I took for granted. Instead, it’s been something I’ve always dreamt about, right from when I was a little boy. All I ever wanted to do was see the world, and years before travel switched from vacation to vocation, I’d fall asleep at night with pictures running through my mind of the places I’d one day hope to experience.
As writers like me sharpen our post-lockdown focus on domestic tourism, I still want to find time to write about the far flung places I dream of one day being able to take my wife Aimee and our baby daughter Riley. The kinds of destinations that aren’t merely fun, but something a little deeper; something a little more special. I hope you’ll find some inspiration here on the Roxborogh Report.
Or if you just want the freedom to laugh about the good ol’ days when we didn’t think twice about complaining about our holidays, enjoy some more of my favourite Travel Bugs columns from the vault! Thanks as always for reading, hugely appreciated.