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Kevin is very excited. His boss has asked him to go to a big sales conference. You remember that Kevin has written a paper for his company about the market for cat food. One of the top people in his company has seen the paper and likes it. The top person does not actually understand the paper. That is because top people only understand big things like international finance, and where shall we play golf next weekend. But the top person said to himself, "This Kevin obviously understands all about cat food. He must come to the sales conference."
So Kevin makes plans to go to the sales conference. The conference takes place in an executive hotel near Heathrow airport in London. This hotel is possibly the least attractive place in England. And it is expensive. But the sales conference has always been held there, every year since 1998, so it has become a tradition.
Kevin decides to travel to the conference on the train. Other people come to the conference in their cars. The people from America and Germany come on the plane to Heathrow airport. Other people come on a bus, or on the underground, or in a taxi. The director responsible for the company’s environmental policy comes on her bicycle.
This is very confusing, isn’t it – "on a train", "in a car", "on a bicycle" – how can we remember when to say "in" and when to say "on"? Well, I am afraid that you just have to learn. But while you are learning, remember that you can nearly always use the word "by" to explain how you are going to travel. So here are some of the ways to get to the sales conference. You can travel by car, or by road; you can travel by train or by rail; you can come by plane or by air; and you can arrive by bus, by tram, by underground, by taxi, by coach, by helicopter, by horse, or by elephant. The only time that you can't use "by" is when you walk – you arrive "on foot", not "by foot". (And you can't seriously go to the sales conference near Heathrow airport by elephant. I just put that in to see if you were awake!)
What is the best way to travel? In English we have a saying that "it is better to travel hopefully than to arrive". It comes from the 19th century Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson. What does it mean? It is about our journey through life. Some people look forward all the time to new things. They welcome new opportunities, new things to do, new things to learn. Even when they are old, they still want to visit new places and meet new people. They are travelling "hopefully" (that is, "with hope"). Other people have perhaps done many things in their lives, but now they do not want to experience anything new. They have arrived. Which is better, do you think – to travel hopefully, or to arrive?
Источник подкаста: listen-to-english.