The urge to travel is the strongest when I’m at home. The TV is most often the enabler. Looking at places I haven’t been immediately grabs my imagination and makes me want to pack and go. Train travel is the best. The ease of just being a rider without the need to know directions is always a relief, but even more so when I’m being hurled forward on tracks. The certainty of arriving intact is much stronger than when I’m in the air.
The window always frames a cinematic view. Passing landscapes of undulating hillsides add another rhythm to the gentle sway and thumps that are soon forgotten. Towers and cranes alongside rusty steel warehouses seem to popup out of nowhere and disappear just as quickly. The row of parked cars comprised of a few Fiats, a Peugeot, and other random models leaves me wondering what it’s like to work there and how glad I am that I don’t.
Each station arrival introduces a new cast of characters. An elderly woman dressed in a freshly pressed black jacket, a strand of pearls, and a plain grey dress leaves a powdery scent trailing behind as she struggles to her seat. She likes the idea of wearing lilacs. The scent holds the memory of her wedding day and late husband. For her, traveling is bothersome. She only does it because her daughter rarely has the time to come see her.
I can’t decide whether it’s the people or the places that I most enjoy seeing pass by. Either way, it’s all about the escape. The rest is entertainment. Permanence is a source of conflict for me. Each day is a question mark. Is this all that there is or will ever be? Will a change in scenery or in the assortment of nameless faces really make much difference? Not really. But it’s always worth it to me. The thought of being the traveling observer appeals to me. Just an anonymous man seated beside the window watching others live out their expectations, moving from station to station without a set destination, not knowing when or where to get off.