I thought the God of Words (with Lynne Truss as high-priestess) was just playing a sick joke on us. How can it be that travel (denoting excitement, exploration and various other romantic notions) could be so phonetically similar to the word travail (as in hard work, toil and discomfort)?
These thoughts flash through my brain at once both lucid and mired in exhaustion. I left Regina 14 hours ago for Toronto. There I caught the flight to Frankfurt – notionally overnight, but with flying time of six-and-a-bit hours at the body clock’s wrong time for sleeping, hardly a wink was caught.
In the Lufthansa lounge I chased down three cappuccinos in 15 minutes, accompanied by really good croissants. I then made my way to the gate for my flight to Copenhagen, only to discover that the local foggy conditions have delayed the departure of the SAS flight.
I could be here for a long time.
When I eventually get to Copenhagen I’ll be catching a train to Nyborg (about two hours), followed by a 45-minute bus ride to Svendborg. This evening I’m presenting a wine tasting to 120 people.
Then I discover that both travail and travel derive from the same word travailler (to torment), which in turn is derived from the Latin trepalium (torture chamber, or instrument of torture made with three stakes).
That makes sense.
Welcome back to airline wilderness, I hear a fiendish voice cackling somewhere in the distance.