The Magic of Train Travel
A few months ago my dear friend of forty years treated me to a train trip that started in Seattle and ended in Los Angeles. We took a break for a few days in San Francisco.
Maybe it’s because of The Orient Express of old, and more recently The Polar Express, but I have always considered trains a mysterious and glamorous form of travel that has languished in recent years.
Is it because we are all in such a hurry? Sure, you can fly from Seattle to San Francisco in two hours as compared to a day and a half on the train. Granted, it doesn’t make sense to take the train if you are on a business trip or are limited for time. It’s not even the way to go if you are on vacation unless you envision the train ride as part of the joy of your time off.
For me, I haven’t been on a train in about twenty years. The last train I rode was in Europe, and that was an entirely different “high speed” experience.
Driving down the west coast was always on my mental list of dream things I’d like to do one day when I had time. When my friend suggested this train trip, I jumped for joy like a girl again. It would be better than taking a car. I’d get to spend quality time with my friend, chat, doze, play games, read… we could eat in the dining car—another dream experience for me—and watch the scenery change from urban to rural, flatland to mountain, field to forest.
Trains are romantic, and an aura of déjà vu cloaks them in a mystique that belongs to bygone times. As we move ever faster in our very functional world, we risk losing appreciation for things that take time. We can even forget that it isn’t always about getting from A to B, but sometimes it’s about the journey itself.
When I was invited to contribute a short story to Volume 1 of A Holiday Anthology by Exquisite Quills, my summer train ride came to mind right away and my contribution, Shooting Star Holiday Express, was born. This time I saw the journey as a winter trip. Bella White and her daughter Julie were traveling south to San Francisco for Christmas. Julie doesn’t know her mom just lost her job, and Bella doesn’t have the heart to cancel the trip. Since her husband died, nothing has brought a sparkle to Julie’s eyes except this train trip. Christmas magic blends with train magic when something unexpected happens on their journey.
If you like a slightly longer read, I’ve written an autumn novella, AutumnMasquerade, and a Christmas ghost love story, Christmas Spirits.
Do you have a train trip to share with us?