What is it about a steam engine and the Flying Scotsman in particular? As I sat down to enjoy a trip aboard a Pullman coach, my companions and I attempted to unpick what was the nub of the attraction. After all, we had taken a train from a station close to home simply to take another train journey back into the Surrey hills, where we had just come from. This was, to put it bluntly, a journey back to where we started, simply for the sake of it. This reminded me of my own childhood and going for a drive with my father, just for the fun of it. He used a phrase “We are going there and back to see how far it is” which is something his own father used to say to him. My dad was one of the few people in his street whose family owned a car, the days when the roads were about as busy as the Scottish Highlands, or as my daughters used to say when they were small, when the dinosaurs were around…
For all our discussion, we still didn’t really identify quite what made this steam trip so special, which it was. Something elemental about water, fire and steam? Perhaps nostalgia and the various cultural references to steam engines? A simpler way of life? The noise, smell and sense of occasion? The sense of travelling with style? Perhaps all of those or none of them. What was certainly disarmingly charming was the smiles, waves and cheers that greeted “us” along the route. People of all ages had come to bear witness to this now rare event, sharing in the collective experience, contributing to it.
The steam engine is very obviously old technology. It was vital and pivotal in the industrial revolution and therefore Britain’s role in moving the world forwards. Today it is largely for the amusement of enthusiasts, but most of us probably have a fond regard for this rather nostalgic, romantic form of transport, with a sense of stepping into a story from Agatha Christie.
I found myself wondering about the different ticket classes for the 475 passengers, some of whom had a basic carriage and brought a picnic, whilst others sank into Pullman coach armchairs, enjoying canapés, champagne, and a three-course meal with wine. Yet this would be similar on aeroplanes, or contemporary trains… or frankly almost any service. We were all being pulled along the same track at the same speed. None of us were in control of the engine or actually aboard the Scotsman. Our experiences were similar but rather different. We all arrived at our final destination at the same time, on time, but perhaps in different states of rest.
Life is a Journey
Regularly we all see adverts that play on the idea that life is about the journey not the destination, this is a truth, but how we decide to experience the journey may well impact how we feel when we finally arrive.
The idea of a journey as a metaphor often used within financial services. Indeed I often describe it as such and talk of “course correction”. Yet in practice a good plan is simply mapping out where you wish to go, the method of travel may vary and perhaps alter, the speed, comfort and experience of the journey can be tailored to suit most budgets. The key is making sure you are not simply going around in circles and on your own path. However, one inescapable reality, is that a financial plan invariably begins at home and ends at home.
You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email email@example.com
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