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Joyful journeys: Entertainment on the move

By Amie Ahn Feb. 14, 2024

A grand, gleaming cruise glides through the deep blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, voyaging to the Bahamas. Inside this sophisticated establishment, over 3,000 guests are enjoying their time at a bar, getting a facial, watching a theatrical performance or devouring a three-course meal. Currently, many forms of transportation hold more purpose than solely arriving atto a destination, having shifted their focus to providing recreation, competition and entertainment. 

Dana Lim art

On a cruise ship, it is easy to forget that the ship is in motion because of its wide and elegant selections of food, pools, water slides and advanced, highly engrossing shows. Cruise ships have provided relaxation for 150 years, becoming a staple in the entertainment industry. Unlike any other ordinary vacation, cruises can foster a sense of tranquility one needs after a busy month or year of work, allowing the mind to take a break from the hectic hustle of daily life. Moreover, cruises take periodic stops at well-known cities and encourage passengers to disembark the ship and explore—making cruises a central hub for tourists. 

“Cruises are a valuable part of both the transportation and entertainment industry due to their ability to merge the two while prioritizing safety for passengers. Thereby, passengers gain positive memories of new experiences on the ocean, while not having their safety compromised,” Sophomore Bhavya Kumar said. 

Numerous forms of entertainment today were once crucial methods of transportation in the past, such as horseback riding. People regularly rode horses for long-distance travel until the mid-20th century, when automobiles became the norm for transportation. Now, horseback riding is primarily a leisurely activity, used for entertainment and sports. Some people take riding lessons as a hobby, while others compete in horse racing more seriously. Referred to as equestrian sports, these events arose during the Renaissance, requiring a human and a horse to collaborate to perform tricks. For example, in show jumping—a popular activity in the Netherlands—a horse must leap over and avoid obstacles in its path, as stated by the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI). 

Not all forms of transportation are on ground level. Wandering above the blue sky, with a vibrant hue in its bubble shape, some may struggle to comprehend that hot air balloons were once used as transportation. Hot air balloons were first used for travel, commerce and war in the late 19th century, per Smithsonian Magazine. Seattle Ballooning, a balloon ride tour agency, stated that the Montgolfier brothers launched the first-ever hot air balloon in 1783; the balloon was unmanned and rose approximately 75 feet above the ground. The balloon merely consisted of a paper bag with an opening at the bottom and a fire lit beneath it. In contrast, modern air balloons have several components: a basket, burner, envelope and various instruments, utilizing gravity, air density and changing temperatures in the envelope to control its height. As mentioned by Napa Valley Aloft, a balloon tour agency in California, the average modern hot air balloon usually reaches about 1,000 to 3,000 feet in elevation, but the highest record is 68,000 feet. 

Balloons are now embraced in Japanese culture, with Japan initially using hot air balloons to carry bombs during World War II, per Seattle Ballooning. Specifically, hot air balloons have evolved into a competitive sport. Within the country, the Ojiya Balloon Festival held in Niigata is an annually celebrated event that hosts a competitive balloon contest in which balloon fliers navigate through the wind and weather to reach a target point on the ground. The festival also features food stalls and an opportunity for non-competitors to ride a balloon for fun. Hot air balloons are widely enjoyed for tourism in many other countries too, including the U.S.. In California, wine-country flights—where people taste a variety of wines while at high altitudes—are popular attractions. 

 Despite the diverse forms of entertainment transportation has produced, some believe that recreational transportation is extravagant and impractical. Many value being provided daily essential services more than the light-hearted entertainment purposes that are becoming more common. For one, cruises are very expensive—companies invest $500 million to over $900 million just to build the ship, as reported by The Points Guy, an American travel website.  

“Money spent on transportation that is solely designed for fun could be better spent elsewhere, no hot air balloon is going to transport someone to the hospital. Recreational transportation lacks the capacity to provide access to essential services, including education or the transport of valuable goods such as food,” Junior Via Thekongkerur said. 

Ultimately, recreational transportation showcases how inventions evolve over time, transforming from their original purpose. HorsebackHorse-back riding and hot air balloons, once forms of travel, now play a greater role in entertainment as technology advances. Emerging transportation may adopt additional purposes, potentially leading to a dramatic shift in how people view recreation and transportation.


About the contributors

Amie Ahn

staff writer

Amie Ahn is a freshman at Leland High School and is a writer for The Charger Account. During her free time, she enjoys eating, sleeping, and spending time with her friends.

Dana Lim


Dana Lim is a junior at Leland High School and is an artist for The Charger Account. During her free time, she loves watching movies, listening to music, and taking 5hr naps.

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