Heard of slow food? You take time to gather the food from fresh, local sources. Nothing from a can. It takes time.
Train travel allows for an appreciation of all the ingredients of the trip: the stretch of land, the train itself, the food, and of course the people.
People who travel by train are a unique bunch. Or is it the gentle rocking of the train that turns the white knuckled freeway driver into an easy-going conversationalist? Everyone one of us started the trip scurrying through the bustle of Union Station but once on the train, a peaceful thought hits you: I’ve got 30 hours to do … nothing and everything. Read a book, play a game, talk, look out the window, sleep. It’s an embarrassment of riches in an area we so rarely enjoy these days: time.
The idea for the trip originally grew from our deep frustration with the BP oil spill and a sense that things are never going to get better unless we all make some serious changes and reduce our oil use. We had let go of the second family car about 4 years ago, bike and walk when we can, wear sweaters in the winter, etc but we thoroughly enjoy traveling. And we both have family and friends far from our mountain town. How to reconcile our desire to have a more positive impact on the environment, and yet travel what the esteemed journalist and global warming expert, George Monbiot, calls “love miles” to visit loved ones? Train travel as it turns out is one of the lowest carbon ways to travel.
But I had forgotten how much fun it is, too.