On the Amtrack train across America

There is something transcendental; explorative and peaceful about traveling in long distance trains. You don’t get that feeling when flying. It is feeling you get when you observe the world as it passes by; the feeling that creeps over you when you are sitting in the train sipping coffee and see vast vistas of landscape; cities, and snapshots of people going about their daily lives rush past you. Sitting on the train and looking at the view outside is like watching a silent movie in which you are the script writer; the movie unfolds as the train speeds past and you imagine what is happening in the lives of the people you observe and imagine the events happening in the cities that the train hurtles past. You see an old man walking a small puppy in an otherwise deserted street in what looks like a small, nondescript town and your imagination starts spinning a story on what has happened and is happening with that old man. You see miles and miles of plain field intersected with creeks and lakes and at the extremities mountain ranges in an area which looks the same as it did hundred years back and you start to think of the Lewis and Clark expedition and what would have been going on in their heads at that time.

Long distance trains satisfy the the explorer and wake up the hibernating nomad inside us. This explorer and nomad inside has an ancient spirit; this is the spirit that makes us explore and seek new places with anticipation; hope and curiosity. This spirit is a remnant from the prehistoric times when discovering new places was part of the daily existence and was essential for survival. As civilization progressed we have come to a point where most of us have a familiar commute from our work to home and we have induced this wandering spirit to go to hibernation and made the explorer comatose. Going to new places awakens the explorer inside us and riding a long distance train across unfamiliar states is an easier alternative to going an exploration into the wild.

Sitting captive on the train staring out the lush, green landscape untouched by civilization with no wifi makes you ruminate similar to the cows you see on the field chewing grass with no sense of time and no urgency to finish the task. Sitting there makes you think what is the rush for and what are we rushing towards? What are we chasing which is so important that we cannot we just sit and enjoy the passing fields.

Originally published at http://justcasualthoughtsdotblog.wordpress.com on July 4, 2019.




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Amit Srivastav

Amit Srivastav

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