Most people can’t wait to go to college to feel the freedom of an adult life, others are simple excited about all the parties that teenage TV shows have promised. There are even those who didn’t get the ambitious part of their personality broken by bored, underpaid high school teachers, and will enjoy acquiring the new knowledge. Not me, though. I’ve already established, I believe, that I’m usually different from most people when it comes to everyday life motivation and ideas. You see, I was excited about something else entirely: the train rides between my home, and my college. That’s right. I like trains.
I can’t remember what seemed so great and fun about them when I was a kid. But I do remember, and this was back when we lived in a city, how my parents used to take me on train rides, just outside of town and back, because I loved it so much. I try to think of the reason for my love for trains, but I honestly can’t remember anymore. I only know why I like them today, and have liked them my entire adult life.
First of all, there isn’t really a better place in any town, than a train station. All the journeys that start and end there. The people boarding trains, going far away into the world, travelling through forests, fields, mountains, cities, entire countries passing by. And then again, all the people coming in, ending their trip in a new town, new place, and the first thing they see after they exit their home for the last couple of hours is the the hub of adventure, and travellers just like them embarking on a voyage to wherever-they-might-be-going. However weird it may sound, even considering my writing so far, being one of those travellers on a train station felt like something big.
I even used to visit the train station despite not intending to board any trains, just for the shadow of that feeling. Watching all the other people preparing for or finishing their adventure was just exciting, weirdly mysterious. It’s like that game that bored people play on a beach, where you get to come up with a story behind a person that you see. Who he is, where does he live? You know what I mean? Where does he work? Is he married? Happily? What about children? Where did he grew up? Any pets? Does he enjoy his holiday? And since my brain doesn’t recognize the difference between a game and a competition, and my imagination was always a powerful tool at its disposal, I was always subjectively the best at coming up with stories for those people, whether I wanted it or not. Now imagine that instead of half-naked people on the beach, you are forced by your brain to invent a story for people in traveller’s gear and a big backpack on their back, who are boarding the train which is heading to the north, where fifty miles away, a large mountain range spreads all the way down to the border. I know it might be hard to relate, but trust me whan I say, it’s a paradise.
And then comes the best part. After all, you can board a train yourself. The tickets for students are unreasonably cheap, so there was nothing stopping me. And I abused that privilege with great pleasure.
My way home, well, ways, never started to bore me, not even when I have already years of observing the same landscapes passing by behind me. I just couldn’t get used to it, in a positive way. In fact, once I got to know the path, I started enjoying the long way home even more, when I was no longer travelling through the unknown, but started to think of it as the world longest driveway to my summer house. Other times, I would just find a train to a small town nearby that I haven’t visited already, and make a one day trip, where the journey itself and the destination are equally exciting. I often used to pick the destination by the landscape I will be passing to get there.
But here’s the thing. If you cared, you might be asking yourself what is so special about trains? If it’s the journey I like, what does that matter how I do the travelling? Well, I’ve been thinking for a long time about it before I realized why. And I suppose, it will be difficult to understand.
You see, when you drive a car, you’re in control. You can stop wherever and whenever you want. Well, almost. But you get to pick the destination, the path, even the speed. It doesn’t mean it’s boring, just… constant. It’s one process, the same as walking, just more effective. You’re not travelling, you’re moving. Again, that doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable. I love driving my car through the summer landscape, it’s one of the most relaxing things there is. And that’s the thing. Travelling by train isn’t relaxing. It’s exciting, it’s mysterious. You know you can exit on a next train station, not sooner, but how will it look like? Where exactly will it be? Who travells with you? To where do all those people around go? What does their destination look like? Each train station is like another world. Like a stage, and it the trains are the way to move between those worlds.
And the world, any world, just looks better from a train’s window, doesn’t it? Like a painting. There’s something really beautiful, which I can’t explain, in observing the land outside the window, passing by people, their homes, their lives.
I know I’m not the only one who claims to like travelling by trains. But I believe that when most people say they like it, what they really mean is “they don’t mind it”. At least they think it’s what they mean. Because my hope is, there are other people who truly enjoy it for the experience it is. The whole thing.
In the end, you can see it’s not about the train as much as it is for the experience that so far only the trains were able to provide. And that is an experience I’m sure people would enjoy, if they aren’t already.
Or maybe it’s one of those thoughts that not only shouldn’t have been shared, but shouldn’t had been thought of in the first place, like I mentioned in my first post?
Anyway, I don’t consider these things a problem anymore.