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Life is the Train

“Our life is a constant journey, from birth to death. The landscape changes, the people change, our needs change, but the train keeps moving. Life is the train, not the station.” – Paulo Coelho

Traveling by regional train is such a treat when you’ve been subjected to the indignities of air travel and commuting in the relentless grind of traffic. Taking an Amtrak from Boston to New York is not the fastest way from point A to point B, but my gosh it’s surely the best way. Give me the rolling scenery without the stress of distracted drivers and unpredictable traffic, thank you. Give me actual leg room in coach over whatever they think proper leg room is on a regional jet between any two cities in the United States. The train is the best way from here to there if the option presents itself.

There are two options when taking the train from Boston to New York (or Washington beyond). The first is the Acela, the “high speed” option. The second is the regional train. The difference is in top speed the trains can travel at, and the number of stops the train makes along the way. For all the potential of the Acela, it only gets you there about 30 minutes faster. I’m quite content taking the regional most days. Sit on the port side going south for the coastal views and the sunrise, or the starboard side for the great view of the city as you make your final approach to Manhattan.

Days blend into weeks, which blend into months. Years fly by and suddenly you can’t recall how many times you’ve done this particular trip. Last week I was flying up and down the East Coast, this week I’m doing a portion of that trip ten feet above sea level. In the last month I’ve been in nine states and when I land in my hotel room tonight I’ll have slept in 12 different beds. Clearly I’m inching back to my old nomadic lifestyle. With travel as with life, I’ve found that it’s usually far better when you’re taking the journey with someone than running solo. But most trips that’s not the way it works with business travel.

The world changes, that’s not a negative statement, but a simple fact of life. And we must keep adapting to change, and keep authoring our own life story. To stay in one place seems a waste to me, when there’s so very much to see out there. Why not explore the world while you have health and mental faculty on your side? We’ve seen how it goes when you wait too long. Life isn’t fair, it will brush you back with a fastball and strike you out with a nasty curve before you know what happened to you. Get to it while you can, and don’t ever strike out looking.

Travel by train gives you the time and mental space to think. To appreciate how far you’ve come, and not stress out about where you’re going. You’ll get there, just stay on the train. Life is like that, isn’t it? Stick with things, keep moving forward and things tend to work out for you. Trains and baseball analogies, all in one post. Isn’t it funny how far a rolling coastal view will take the mind?

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