A passenger with no need to navigate

sleeping in car

My husband and I have a GPS navigation system in our car for long trips. Hubby is almost always the driver. Despite our Tom Tom’s verbal instructions, my hubby still likes me to be the Tom Tom lady’s “second voice”. That certainly ensures getting to our destinations without problems, and yet it takes away some of my freedom to just be a passenger, who can stare out the window and daydream. 

I remember when I was a child, I was a daydreaming passenger. I’d be in the backseat with my older siblings (when I was very young), or had the whole backseat to myself, after they left home. I’d just stare at all of the interesting things that passed by on the road. Even little things would spark my fancy. Other times, the movement I felt sent me into a blissful sleep. No, I never got car sick. 

airplane view of cloudsEven more than cars, I love to take trains when I can. Yes, I know that flying to far away destinations is definitely faster and often cheaper, but all I see in planes are usually clouds below. It’s only when the sky is crystal clear or the plane’s altitude is low that the earth below appears in some interesting way. On trains, you see the varied landscape pass by, goings on in towns, or a part of the area that is only ever seen from the train’s tracks. I also love the sound and the feel of the train; its meditation inspiring repetition, soothing vibrations, occasional bump, and the thrilling/shocking experience of two trains passing by at great speeds in opposite directions.   

The train I take most is just a commuter train to New York City. Believe it or not, the ride through New Jersey’s landscape is quite varied, with rural land, small towns, a huge airport, and then the heart of two major metropolises. The train is a good place for people watching. Each stop brings a different group of characters.  Some are just headed to the next town, a number have their luggage ready for a long flight, and the majority is looking forward to a day in the city that never sleeps.  The primary destination can’t be seen in the final minutes of the ride. You pass through the tunnel under the Hudson River, and finally arrive in the guts of an underground world hardly renovated for decades. And then once you reach there, you may not even see the light quite yet. A transfer to a subway, yet another experience of a kind, may also be necessary. And when you return home? I can’t forget to describe that. Hordes of people stare quietly at the train bill board that announces the train track number. Once the track number is up, there is a mad dash (literal running) to ensure a desirable seat for the way home. 

train dining carSleeper trains are among the most romantic. Have you ever slept overnight on a train? I’ve never had a better night’s sleep! I paid about $100 for a sound machine, for near my bed, that plays “rainfall”, “ocean”, “meadow”, and “train”. Believe me when I say it’s as powerful as a sleeping pill. And when I’m not sleeping, it’s nice to walk down the train aisle, without fear of losing your seat. And where else can a regular passenger sit in a dining car for a relaxing meal? Not that many planes offer such comforts, especially if you’re not spending several thousands of dollars for first class on the journey.   

TGV trainIt’s true that taking a non-stop flight is usually much faster than a train, but nowadays the express trains make the extra time almost worth it. The TGV from Paris to Geneva takes about 3 hours and 5 mins, while the non-stop flight takes only 1 hour and 10 mins, but let me tell you that the views on that train ride are well worth the difference. Trains around the world are getting faster, and usually the hassles before and after boarding are far more bearable.

 What is your favorite passenger ride? What was your longest journey in a car, train, or plane?

11 thoughts on “A passenger with no need to navigate

  1. Nel October 19, 2017 / 5:48 pm

    Man if that’s what a sleeper train looks like on the inside, I hope I get to ride one some day! The longest ride I’ve ever taken was on a plane. From Ohio to Florence, Italy. Behind that though is car. Longest car drive was 13 hours from Ohio to Alabama. After that drive I swore off long car rides unless it’s a roadtrip across the country haha and even then I might just take an Amtrak.

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight October 19, 2017 / 6:06 pm

      I’ve heard Florence is wonderful! I’ve been to Italy, but only to Rome, and in the northern areas, plus Padova and Venice.

      My longest train trip was from Chicago to New York City. That train’s sleeper compartment was not that romantic, though. I think they’re much nicer in Western Europe and in some Asian countries. France’s TGV is wonderful. That trip I mentioned from Paris to Geneva was wonderful.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nel October 19, 2017 / 6:36 pm

        It is! I always recommend people go to Florence when they go to Italy but one day I would like to go to Cinque Terre. All the pictures are absolutely BEAUTIFUL! I think international planes are better than domestic planes so if that’s a good analogy, I totally get what you mean. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Fortunately Human October 19, 2017 / 5:54 pm

    No doubt that the train rides are all time favourite….to almost every person on the planet.m..provided you get a comfortable berth…. I too enjoy it a lot…and you know… I have spent two consecutive nights and a day to reach the destination…not once..mm..but many times…though now more inclined towards flight…thanks to better connectivity…and reduced fares…but…no means of commuting… can really replace the fun, thrill, excitement…that a train journey offers….

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight October 19, 2017 / 6:08 pm

      Yes, I wish trains would make a come back in my country and improve service and speed. Flights, however, seem to be more and more miserable, despite their speed.

      Liked by 1 person

      • updownflight October 19, 2017 / 6:47 pm

        That and the mentality of some people. Some people think of trains as just a thing of the past.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Fortunately Human October 19, 2017 / 6:52 pm

        Can’t do anything for that….isn’t it? Let the train remain…and they will….

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Coping October 20, 2017 / 10:58 am

    Is riding the train a privilege or right? The longest passenger ride ever for me is the permanent passenger seat I have been assigned by the criminal justice department, of Canada I can never drive again

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Melissa A. October 20, 2017 / 3:28 pm

    This was an interesting post. I think I may have rode a train as a kid, but the memory is hazy. I would love it if my city had passenger trains! Currently, we only have freight trains, but it would be wonderful to ride a train. I like the way you describe it. Plus I have a massive fear of flying, so won’t go near a plane. Thanks for sharing what sounds like a more comfortable mode of travel 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight October 20, 2017 / 3:35 pm

      Thanks, Melissa! Maybe sometime during your travels domestically or abroad you could try some train travel. My husband and I even traveled by train in Peru, and it was wonderful. Actually that train was much nicer than a lot of trains in the U.S.

      Liked by 1 person

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