I am looking out the window, loving the landscape as it passes like the wind. Waving grasses or graffiti-covered walls, they all appear and then vanish while I stare, transfixed. The walls of this train car are painted a deep green. The cracked vinyl seats flip so I can change direction when the train does. I am wearing headphones, listening to music that spirals me from melancholy to joy and back again. The people around me are speaking languages I don't understand. The door creaks, and often when someone walks through, it doesn't close for a long time. If I take my eyes from the window, I can see into the car ahead: a blue flowered hat hangs from an overhead bin; two teenage boys each balance on one foot and try to push the other down in the aisle; a small girl has fallen asleep with her legs dangling over the arm of her chair. I travel on trains that take their time arriving.
These trains are the best places I know of for daydreaming. On long train rides, my daydreams about what it will be like where I'm going can take their sweet time unraveling. And as long as the train is moving, I can only be right where I am. So I also revel in drawing up new plans for myself and in pulling out old memories one by one to polish them.
When the train stops in a tiny town I've never heard of, I smile at those first sentence hugs and hellos I see outside the window. While the train pulls away from the station, I wonder how those stories will blossom. Then a woman who could be my grandmother sits down next to me, offers me a cookie, and asks me where I'm going.
Robert Louis Stevenson said, "It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive." I am sure that thought came to him when he was traveling on a train.
Hi, I'm Deidra
To me, transformative travel means traveling in a way that connects you to places and people in a profound way., being real and present with what is happening while you travel and recognizing the impact travel has on your life beyond your journeys.