My birthday will soon be here, and this year I am thinking about all of the amazing birthdays I have celebrated in the past. I have been lucky enough to celebrate my birthday in some pretty cool cities; Austin, TX, Boston, MA, San Francisco, CA, New York, NY, Paris, France…but no matter where I have actually celebrated, the best part has been being able to celebrate another year of life with my awesome friends and family.
When I was younger, I thought trains were just the bees knees. They represented adventure to an elementary aged me, and I wanted to experience the thrill of it for myself. I was very lucky to have such loving and amazing parents who nurtured my dreams. They bought me a train ride for my birthday. Please remember that I grew up in a small town in Texas, where there are no subways and public transportation was only available in Austin (30 miles away) and even then in only bus form. My birthday gift was a train ride from Austin TX to Taylor TX. It was only about a 30 minute ride. But it was the most magnificent gift for a 6 year old kid who wanted to ride a train.
As I grew older my thirst for adventure and travel grew deeper. Movies such as Murder on the Orient Express showcase the elegance of train travel along with beautiful scenery that can be viewed all from one’s seat and/or cabin. The romanticism of train travel is often depicted with two lovers, one riding the train off to war or college, while the other remains on the platform. As the two says their goodbyes, slowly the train begins to move and the one on the platform can only follow for so long. This ubiquitous scene has since been used in numerous spoofs and comedy sketches leaving the platform bound lover running into a lamp post, or falling off the end of the platform. Not just the train or train ride is romantic though, even older train stations will appeal to romantics. I challenge you to walk in to Grand Central Station in New York City, stop and admire the grand beauty of the building. If it doesn’t make you lose your breath or bring a tear to your eye, you won’t understand me at all.
Trains have changed over the years, unless it’s Amtrak, where they just get worse. The Shinkansen or Bullet Train system in Japan is a high-speed, electrical system that has made the entire world reevaluate how train travel could be done. Also, in Japan, South Korea & China they use Maglev trains. These are trains that operate using magnets. Technology can be amazing when its focused on more than video games and smartphones. There has been discussions about installing bullet trains in the United States to allow passengers to to get from San Francisco to NYC in a matter of hours. If it ever happens, that would be awesome.
Train travel has always been special to me. From a young boy who yearned for an adventure to an adult who seeks romance and the longing for yesteryear, trains can be magical. Speaking of magical, think about Harry Potter taking off from platform 9 3/4 on the way to Hogwarts. There is a train company who operates a few lines across Europe that requires formal dress for all passengers and has all of the elegance possible for a train journey. It can be quite costly, but hopefully my husband and I can take this adventure together one day in the near future.