Thoughts While on a Train to Paris

By Allison Uy, junior at UW-Madison

Edited by Maggie Baruffi

I love to travel. That feeling when all the plans have been made, and you’re on the way to someplace wonderful. Trains, planes, cars, even buses all give me this relaxing sensation of leaning back and a trust that you will arrive at your place safely.

Looking out the window, I find more often then not you can see…Blue skies. White clouds. Green grass. It looks so idyllic from behind a window. It is right there and so close; but there’s no push. You don’t have to grab your things and reorganize your schedule to take a short power walk to enjoy the weather. There’s nothing you can do, and moreover, you don’t want to. You’re already on your way. So you lean back and enjoy the ride

Honestly these are my favorite memories: the ones with my head resting against the headrest. Watching my family around me. We used to go on road trips everywhere! Down to Florida, to Washington DC, to New York City, to Yosemite, Texas. My mom loved to travel, so we all became used to 12 hours in a car. There was a lot of time to think.

My family wasn’t around me when I was on the train to Paris, but that flicker of a memory, of being with them, was enough. Traveling was always my favorite part. The low hum of anticipation of wherever we were going was overshadowed by the sheer contentedness that flooded through me. There was nowhere on earth I’d rather be in than that moment, but there.

And with trips like that, the window was always different. Looking out the window could mean looking at a highway with hundreds of cars tightly cramped and slow movement. Or to the sheer rock vistas clearly exploded and carved away to make the road exposing their colors and layers. Or to the golden endless field of corn, wheat and farm that seem to go on forever. To that little patch of green right next to the road as you whiz by.

But which view it is, doesn’t matter. What matters is your head leaning against the window and watching the world go by.

The brief moments in between one and the next. There is nothing more enchanting. There’s the potential for something wonderful, but no overwhelming urge for it to happen. It can be calm and peaceful, a time of rest. Or the travel itself can be its own exciting adventure with twists and turns.

Traveling is such wonderful time to slow down and just think. A time perfect for reflection or creative tasks. Some find travel boring or stifling or claustrophobic. And it can be at times, but other times, it can be simply perfect. To have a crystallized moment where no one expects anything from you but to sit and to be carried to a place you may have never seen before.

So yes, these were just a few idle thoughts on a train to Paris.