It’s The Journey.

It’s my birthday today and, well, I always have trouble with the question, “What do you want?” Obviously I appreciate the thought and I want to be realistic, but if I could be completely unrealistic I’d want to take a train trip from Portugal to Singapore. I realize that’s not completely unrealistic since it is now possible, but I don’t want to wish for the impossible or even nonexistent.

The world’s longest train trip. For now, anyway. Source: BoingBoing

A three-week train trip sounds amazing to me. Maybe parts of it would be tedious or boring but part of the fun of train trips, and, I think, adding to the romance of train travel, is that there’s a constantly shifting landscape out there. Trains also offer a certain amount of freedom within their confines. Unless you’re the conductor you’re not driving so you can wander up and down the cars. There’s usually more space than there is on an airplane, and it’s easier to change seats.

And consider this: if an airplane’s engines stop working that’s it. The pilot or pilots will do the best they can to make a safe landing but it’s still at the mercy of gravity. Even a boat has its downside—specifically if it goes down and you end up hoping there are enough lifeboats to hold everyone. I don’t mean to downplay the severity of train crashes, which can be terrible, but if a train’s engine breaks down or it’s just stopped by leaves on the tracks then you still have a pretty good chance of walking away. Train travel may be slower but keeps you close to the ground.

Thirty years ago I took an overnight train trip from Moscow to St. Petersburg. St. Petersburg, Russia, specifically—a train trip from Moscow to St. Petersburg, Florida would have been more than just one night, not to mention a spectacular feat of engineering, but that’s another story. It was an old style train, mostly wood, rickety, and a tall, thin gentleman came by and brought me some tea in a glass cup with a metal holder.

I read some but I also spent a lot of time just watching the snow-covered countryside, dotted with lights of small towns off in the distance, slip by, and I wondered what was going on in those homes that kept their fires burning all night. I slept some, and at one point I went to the end of the car and stood in the cold, wintry air. I could look down and see the tracks and gravel, and how fast the train was moving, but when I looked out at the snow it all seemed impossibly still.

Yeah, I definitely want three weeks of travel like that.

 

Facebook Comments

10 Comments

  1. francisashis

    Wish you many many happy returns of the Day.Have a great day of celebrations.God bless.💐🌷🥀🌹🌺🌸🏵️🌼🎂🥧🥫🍝🍔🍖🍗🥩🙏👏

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Thank you!

      Reply
  2. Newbloggycat

    Happy Birthday! Cheers 🍻🍷🍹🍸🎂

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Thank you!

      Reply
  3. markbialczak

    Back in my youth I was fortunate enough to travel frequently on the Long Island Railroad and New York City Subway system, and, yes, Chris, trains hold a certain allure. When Shea Stadium entered my view on our trips to see Mets games, my heart raced! I like your birthday dream, yes.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      You’re very lucky to have ridden a train on a regular basis, not to mention getting to see Shea Stadium so often. I especially like that it never diminished the experience for you, which repetition can sometimes do.

      Reply
  4. BarbaraM

    My friends and I (when teenagers)would take the train for our big day in NYC. It never grew old and even when we could hardly wait to arrive,the trip itself was part of the adventure!

    Have a fun Birthday and maybe Santa will find a way to fulfill at least part of your wishes for the New Year.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I have a wonderful memory of staying with an aunt and uncle in Connecticut and taking the train to New York City for a day. It still amazes me we could do that, but then I know there are a lot of commuters who’ve made that same trip regularly for decades, mostly so they don’t have to live in New York.
      One thing I hope to do this year, if things work out, is ride the Music City Star. It may not be a long trip but it’ll be fun.

      Reply
  5. ANN J KOPLOW

    This is what happens when I don’t take the short trip to visit your blog more frequently, Chris, but I’m so glad I’m here in time to wish you a very happy birthmonth and many, many, many more! And thanks for the tranporting video.
    ANN J KOPLOW recently posted…Day 3287: My Best and Worst of 2021My Profile

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I can hardly complain since it’s taken me so long to get around to catching up on comments, but I am happy to have gotten this one and others, and I’m already looking forward to your birthday next month, and many more after that.

      Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge

%d bloggers like this: