This year I will be using the train more as a metaphor than a mode of transportation. Passenger train systems are limited. Many of the places I wanted to travel via train were either not on the route map, too expensive compared with other modes of transit, or took so long to reach that it was unmanageable. That’s not to say that this is the end of the line for me traveling by train. I have been a train enthusiast for most of my life. That wonderful first moment of sitting down in a comfy train seat heading out to somewhere I’ve never been before, and handing control to the train crew, will always grab me. I am a five-minute walk to a commuter line that brings me right to the heart of Chicago, a world-class city where the Amtrak station serves as a transportation hub for the entire country. I am fortunate to have such an option. However, train travel is no longer enough. I don’t want to be limited by where the train tracks lead. My path and purpose for traveling has changed.
What I have learned while traveling by train over the past few years is that it’s not about going from place to place or leaving and arriving. Whatever direction I chose to take, I always enjoyed the view and the people that fate crossed my path with. An openness to travel with or without purpose, by train or not, has overtaken me. Whether it’s staring at a plant in a rain forest or embracing the bitter cold of Michigan’s upper peninsula in a dog sled, each trip teaches me something about myself and the world. A lesson I didn’t know I needed until after it was over.
I look forward to sharing travel stories that include baggage, dead ends, discovery, signals, destinations, timetables, sidetracks, adventure, blowing off steam, and chugging along. I’m delving into how travel changes us as individuals and as a country. There’s some good science and literature behind this. How does research, rhetoric and reality play out in a traveler’s life? What influence does place have? I have come to appreciate the non sensory side of travel. I will attempt to write travel articles that may be out of the mainstream, yet informative and entertaining for the reader.
Happy 2018. I hope you enjoy the ride.