Sunday, 03 July 2016 00:00

Everywhere I go, I seem to experience a different sense of community. On the train, there is an ever-evolving community because of the changing people who ride through the various stops. The unwritten community rules are formed by the train conductors and by riders. One of the common courtesies is to share a table in the dining and snack car in what I call "European style." Sometimes, someone will motion that they want to sit at your table, or will interact with you from another table, whereas in most American restaurants, you would have your own table, and people at nearby tables would keep to themselves. Being an introvert, I am perfectly content to sit by myself and think my own thoughts, but on the train, I just think of it as an unusual adventure.

Here are some adventures from my latest train trip.

I heard some teen girls at a table behind me playing a type of card game where they would challenge each other. Then, suddenly. one gal reached over my right shoulder and placed a card and origami bird on my table. I was delighted at the gesture. After a bit, I decided that I should return the card so they would have a complete deck of cards, and I handed the card back. She said, "Keep it." I figured that I probably was not hip to these new card games, and that I should hang on to it. Then I noticed a URL and tracking number on the card. Perhaps I will take note of the tracking number and fold a new origami creature to share with someone else on the train ride back.

One fellow sat down and wanted to chat, and then he set a drum pad on the table and started drumming. It was a very quiet drum pad, perfect for community travel. It seems to be a nice hobby for him. He couldn't see well, so he was not as entertained by the usual digital entertainment that one usually brings when traveling on a train. We had a nice chat about music, and then I moved on to another location on the train to see what my next adventure would be.


Saturday, 02 January 2016 00:00

I don’t travel often, but when I do, I like to sit back, take it easy, and ride the rails. Trains give me the sense of freedom to take my time and just relax. It is a great way to see the country and enjoy the scenery going by. On my most recent trip, I took a few pictures while the train was moving.  I became fascinated by the challenge of it. Here are a few of the scenes going by.

I like to travel during non-busy times so it seems like I have the train to myself. 

Then I just sit back, relax, and contemplate.

I enjoy the scenery going by.

I spend some time on the observation deck so I can get the best view of the scenery.

I like to capture things as I zoom by, like this train signal.

I try to capture things in the foreground, like this bridge girder with river behind.

I also look for aberrations from the train windows—for example, I like the way I can see the old barn behind this one.

When I saw this photo, I thought the figure was a cardboard cut-out, but as I looked at the next one in the series, I realized that he must have been the train station agent, watching the train come in.