The romance of train travel (How did I forget?)
I spend a great deal of time on planes — and actually quite enjoy flying — but my first memories of travel? Trains.
I have no idea how my mother gave birth to someone like me — she’s petrified of planes, and growing up, because of her (in my mind, irrational) fear, we were always forced to take the auto train to Florida to visit my grandma.
As a kid, I was always so angry at her. Why waste a whole day on a train when we could fly and be there in three hours? I grew up in a hurry — I always had the next activity on my mind, and for me, anything that took more time vs. less time was (quite simply) a waste of time.
Fast forward to 2013, I’m a lot older (and maybe a little wiser?) and I find myself this morning on a train to Providence, headed on a Bristol press trip. It’s a far cry from the 12-hour EL AL flight from Tel Aviv two days ago. It’s…dare I say?…romantic? Relaxed? Rejuvenating?
What I didn’t see then — or wasn’t ready to see — is that train travel remains the most authentic way of getting from one spot to another and enjoying the beautiful countryside. I saw a little glimpse of it last year in Switzerland — there, hardly anyone drives anywhere — it’s all about their amazing trains. Why go through the concentration of driving yourself from Zurich to Geneva when you can relax on the train and watch the country roll by? Even better if you are lucky enough to be with someone you love. Seated side by side, you get to view magnificent scenery through your window, as one – and not as a passenger and a driver. Think of the possibilities! If you stop to kiss, there’s way less chance of dying in a fiery explosion!
I may have killed that imagery right there. I’m a scary kind of romantic (The Tudors is my favorite series, after all) -but as I sit on this Acela Express right now, having arrived at Penn Station 15 minutes before my train and not having to worry (and no TSA to deal with), I realize how much easier life can be. And looking out my window at the sea of green, I’m newly in love with America, warts (or, er, “soupy summer morning”) and all.
Also, there’s copious crustaceans in my future. That’s love, people. The best love of all.