Today’s Blogging 101 assignment is to write a post based off of one of The Daily Post’s writing prompts. I opted not to use today’s prompt (“Tell us about the last experience you had that left you feeling fresh, energized, and rejuvenated!”), and instead looked through old prompts until I found one that I felt I could build on: Trains, Planes, and Automobiles.
You’re going on a cross-country trip. Airplane, train, bus, or car? (Or something else entirely — bike? Hot air balloon?)
You see, I’ve traveled across the good ol’ USA countless times already. I was born in Arkansas, and lived in Memphis until I moved to Alaska at the age of 8. When I graduated high school I left for college in Indiana, and then graduate school in Connecticut. I have family both in Alaska and in New England. I’ve spent summers in Wisconsin and California during college. I’ve gone on quite a few cross-country trips, is what I’m saying, and I’ve gone by train, plane, and automobile. I’ve decided to write about my experiences with each in three separate posts. Up first: Trains.
A little background first: I went to college at a small school in Indiana that specialized in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. We were on a quarter system rather than having semesters. One of our quarters ended in February, so we had a week off then in addition to the typical Spring Break in April.
My senior year, I was horribly ill during the break in February, so I went home, got some antibiotics, and slept for a week (basically). When Spring Break rolled around in April, I wanted to do something exciting for my last spring break ever, but a bunch of my friends had gone on a big trip in February and wanted to just chill and save money for their first few months in the real world or whatever. Around that same time, I discovered, much to my surprise, that there were still trains that went all across the country, and you could get to a lot of major cities by train (growing up in Alaska doesn’t prepare you for a lot of the realities of the Lower 48). So I decided, fuck it, I’ll have my own adventure, and took a train from Chicago to New York City.
The first train that I was on went from Chicago to Washington, D.C. overnight. It was the fanciest train I’ve been on: It had two stories with most of the seats on top, a car that just had big windows and a lot of chairs so you could watch the scenery pass by, and a diner car. If you showed up to the diner car alone for dinner or breakfast, as I did, they would seat you with other people to save space. I ended up having dinner with two older business men who seemed to have known each other for a long time, and a quirky girl a few years older than me with a bit of an environmentalist schtick. I had never dined with strangers before, but we had a lovely time.
After dinner, my only mistake became clear: I had gotten a cheap ticket, not a sleeper car. I had to sleep in a seat with little more room than an airplane chair, as the train swayed back and forth and made the occasional late-night stop. If I travel overnight by train again I’ll be splurging on a sleeper car for sure.
The next day, the train stopped in Washington, D.C. I had a 3-ish hour layover (?? I don’t know what you’d call it!) there, so I explored a little. There wasn’t much exciting within walking distance, but I took some pretty pictures and got to be outside and stretch my legs a little.
The last leg to NYC wasn’t super exciting. I was on a less-nice train, and the tracks were still pretty beat up from Hurricane Sandy. I got to Grand Central Station sometime in the evening, and took the subway to uptown Manhattan, where I was staying in a hostel room with 11 other random girls. The hostel that I was staying at did weekly walking tours of Manhattan and Brooklyn for $5 (!!!), so I did that on my first day. The tour guide was an old man who had lived in Brooklyn his entire life. He had a great accent and liked to take pictures of interesting-looking New Yorkers (“No, don’t smile! Hey, how do you like this neon filter I put on your picture?”). He made sure to let me know that purple is my color.
There were people from all over the world on my tour. I met people from Japan, British Colombia, Australia, and…Sweden.
Mr. Sweden was an interesting character. He took quite a shine to me. He couldn’t pronounce my name (he said it like “A lie”). He kept offering to take pictures with me in them. After the tour he ended up adding me on Facebook and insisting that we meet up again in New York (we didn’t).
Over the next few months, he would Facebook message me every once in a while to chat. He seemed sweet enough, just interested in my life I guess. He offered me a couch if I ever wanted to visit Scandinavia. Then one day, he messaged this..
“I wish I could meet a girl like you as my life partner 🙂
Ha ha ha
Wish I could invite you for a dinner 🙂
Honestly I always was thinking about you 🙂
I know you might think that I am crazy…. But I know how nice person you are…
You deserve to be love 🙂
Sorry for my bad English….
Do you think that would work? 🙂
That someone think about you and loves you…
When I back Norway, I always wished to meet you once again and look at your eyes and tell the true…
I meet so many people, but you are an especial person…
Are you single?
What do you think of train travel? Old-fashioned, adventurous, or a commuting necessity?