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Day 84: Epic Train Journeys, Not For Everyone

Day 84: Whistle Stop Tour to Cook

Day 84: Whistle Stop Tour to Cook

House cracks me up sometimes. There was an episode a while back where they made fun of the way there are always shots of them walking down the hall discussing the patients because it gave the impression that they were moving forward, and that is a lot more exciting than sitting around at a table. I think this idea translates over into travel as well. I’m currently sitting on a train and doing nothing but thinking and staring out the window, and I couldn’t care less. I feel as though I’m moving towards something even more spectacular than the scenery, and I always feel this way when I’m in a moving vehicle – car, bus, plane or train.

Trains are the shiznit.

I already love road trips, but train trips are like on another level. They are romantic, engaging and liberating all at once. The romance comes from the movement towards even more adventure. The engaging comes from not being able to take your eyes off the landscapes outside, meeting and chatting with people and just not really wanting it to end. The liberation comes from the fact I can free my mind, think those thoughts I don’t have time to mull over in normal life, and just the fact I can get up out of my seat and walk around (you can’t do that on a bus).

Epic train journeys are for me, so now, after a little over 2 days on the Indian Pacific, I can definitely get more excited about the Trans-Mongolian train trip I’m hoping to take in the next year. But train trips aren’t for everyone, a fact I’ve come to face while being on this train, and a sad one at that.

The Indian Pacific train ride is one of the most amazing train trips in the world, and it crosses places millions of people can only ever dream of crossing. The views are colorful – greens, reds, blues – with hues intensified in my mind because I know how scarce and hostile the environment I’m looking at actually is for people. I don’t take experiences like these for granted, but… others do.

Don’t be that guy.

Don’t be the guy that complains about everything along the journey, such as the food, the tours, the boring scenery and lack of things to do. Just don’t. You’re the one who booked this journey and came unprepared and in the wrong mindset, and I don’t want your negative vibes ruining my enjoyment.

Don’t be the guy who doesn’t understand when it is okay to actually talk to you. When someone (me) is sitting at their computer, intently working, that does not mean I want you to talk to me. When I sit 3 tables away with a newspaper in my hands, that also is not an invite. I enjoy the solitude of the trains and entertaining myself, which I think a lot of other people here do, too, so don’t go overboard here and become annoying.

Don’t be the guy that refuses to pick up one of the free books or magazines in the lounge. Don’t be the one that sits there in the middle of the carriage just staring at other people in the room instead of outside. Just don’t do it. It makes people like me feel uncomfortable.

Just don’t be that guy on an epic train journey, and if you are that guy… DON’T GO ON THE TRAIN.

brooke and outback on indian pacific train

Let’s face it: Epic train journeys are for me, but they definitely are not for you.

Update: If this sounds rude, I’m sorry πŸ˜‰ I was just trying to point out that long trips on trains are not for people traveling solo who can’t handle being in their own skin for a while. They’re also not for people who aren’t going to appreciate the adventure.


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9 Responses to Day 84: Epic Train Journeys, Not For Everyone

  1. John March 25, 2011 at 8:19 pm #

    “Don’t be that guy.” what about that girl who also does all those things? πŸ˜‰
    Trains are actually quite sociable places to be unless they are big city commuter trains. I have met and chatted with lots of interesting people on trains and it wasn’t me who initiated in the conversation in 50% of them.
    I know you disagree with me here, but certainly in daylight hours sitting at a computer or reading a newspaper removes a lot of the joy of discovering that country through the train window. Unless I am on a commuter train I don’t read or work on my computer in daylight hours.

    • Brooke March 25, 2011 at 8:23 pm #

      It can be a girl, too, no doubt… but I have spent time chatting and also time where I wanted to get work done or just relax in my own mind.

      This is a “work trip” mind you… so it’s different than normal trips. I just don’t understand where sitting there reading or writing and staring out the window (part of the MAJOR draw of this trip) warrants people interrupting… a word here or there is fine, but carrying on a conversation from across the room when I’m obviously engrossed in something of my own is annoying!

  2. Jane March 25, 2011 at 9:20 pm #

    Hey Brooke, when are you doing the Trans-Mongolian? I’ve booked up to do it beginning of June.:)

    • Brooke March 26, 2011 at 12:07 am #

      Aw bummer, mine will come probably early 2012… still planning πŸ™‚ I’ll be in the States this June — woo!

  3. Matt March 26, 2011 at 9:07 pm #

    You’re a legend, mate. Thanks to your ungodly determination, I know how many days it has been since I’ve tried to get caught up on my Reader. 31. Bloody great effort – keep it up. I won’t say I’m reading your daily updates, but the ones I”m reading I sure am enjoying.

    There is something romantic about train travel – the sound of the tracks, the landscapes slowly changing – it’s quite appealing to me though I’ve never been on a long journey like you’re doing now. My favorite aspect of train travel is that you feel very connected to the landscapes you travel through – you reach your destination really having felt like you’ve covered ground, and you certainly don’t get that in an airplane.

  4. Ayngelina March 27, 2011 at 2:01 am #

    I LOVE the train. any train. even the subway.

    I HATE when people try to talk to me while IΒ΄m working. I feel like they are making me be rude by not getting involved in the conversation.

  5. Amanda March 28, 2011 at 7:37 am #

    There really is something quite relaxing and liberating about train travel. Like you, I sometimes really enjoy the “getting there” part of travel, where you can just sit back on a bus or train and not worry about driving, but just simply stare out the window for hours on end. I LOVE that. And, like Ayngelina, I often even find this type of relaxed feeling on the subway! It’s strange, but an hour-long train ride never feels as long as an hour-long car ride to me.

    And I promise I’ll try not to ever be “that guy.” πŸ˜‰

  6. Bethany March 30, 2011 at 3:00 am #

    To me the journey is almost, if not, more important than the destination. It’s always in the middle of moving from one place to the next that I get the best ideas. It’s such a wonderful way to slow down and catch up with yourself. It’s actually the inspiration behind the entire Somewhere In Time series on my blog – not the train necessarily but the journey. It’s the journey that really changes us don’t you think?

    I love that picture you took out the window too – the colors are amazing! I really hope we can take the TS together!


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