A lot of objects represent travel, but only the palm tree symbolises the best part of getting away, which is the luxury of time and the freedom to do whatever you want with it.
If we’re talking emojis – that yardstick of contemporary cultural relevance – then there’s other options, like a plane or train or maybe a suitcase. But while these things help deliver us to our destination, they’re more necessary evils, rather than a reward for leaving home.
Alternatively, the palm tree is like a checkered flag waving at the end of a demanding race. You’ve lined up through customs, survived the in-flight food, got to your accommodation without any lost luggage, and now you’re able to unpack – not just your bags, but your responsibilities too.
the palm tree is like a checkered flag waving at the end of a demanding race.
Stripped of work, domestic duties, and the interpersonal dramas that crash around us every day, going on a trip is the human equivalent of servicing your car. It’s a chance to stop and listen to how your engine is running. And like the mechanic’s hoist, a couple of palm trees with a hammock strung in between them is the perfect way to realign yourself, just by swaying in the breeze.
Even in cities or countries where none exist, the palm tree is never far away. Look around and you start spotting them everywhere – in the names of towns and beaches, on hotel logos, necklace designs, tattoos, and even in the shape of those plastic swizzle sticks used to mix your cocktail. This is because the palm tree has super powers. Just hearing its name or seeing that iconic silhouette is persuasive enough to make anywhere feel a little more exotic.
Consider how whenever people draw cartoons of deserted islands they always include a palm tree. That’s because the setting would be too bleak otherwise. A person trapped in a prison of isolation isn’t funny, but the addition of a palm tree changes that. Suddenly things don’t look so bad. In fact, surrounded by all that peace and tranquility, leaning back under the shade of the fronds above, it looks rather dreamy.
No pine, oak or cedar would have that effect. Only the mighty, bendy palm tree.