Generally that statement referred to the proliferation of technology that has shrunk travel times several orders of magnitude. It is a social reference rather than one of cosmology. Someone wrote an essay on the topic comparing traditional cultures to modern ones in the 1960s if I member correctly. They noted that a Russian villager circa 1800 might never travel farther than 30 miles from their home in their lifetime on foot. That was contrasted with the average modern American who travels hundreds of thousands or millions of miles.
Of course one can purchase an around the world plane ticket for a couple of weeks salary these days, and Europe is just a few hours away by air for any citizen with a passport. Distance has shrank so much that it tends to spoil modern perspectives of things. I have rode a bike every mile between Alaska and South Florida and border to border and seen cars whizzing past crossing the nation in what- a couple of days where it took me quite a bit more time.
Star Trek faster than light across the Universe is the paradigm many moderns are thinking about and looking for as they trample the ecosphere of the Earth as it is just a platform for their machines transporting their persons; they have a certain misunderstanding about where the world is located apparently and don’t value the God-given nature and qualities of the planetary environment well enough to care for it as well as good gardeners conserve that mansion’s appearance in Beverly Hills.