Yesterday was a great day. I’ll tell you how it went.
In the morning I got up at our house in Amersfoort, The Netherlands. The day before I already prepared my bags for a long journey. After a walk to the station, I got on the train to the airport and checked in for my flight to Los Angeles. On my flight the seat next to me was empty, and there was only a slight bit of turbulence on the way. Flying over Wyoming, I recognized a mountain range we once travelled to.
At Los Angeles airport I waited for a comfortable bus that took me to Union Station, a place with quite classic railway architecture. I checked in my bag for the 3.00 pm Amtrak Pacific Surfliner to San Diego – wow, checking in a bag for a train! The passengers for the train queued for a gate that brought you from the main hall to the main hall (you could also just walk around it). At this virtual gate, an Amtrak employee told me which platform I should go to.
The Pacific Surfliner finds its way along the coast. Sometimes it runs so close to the coast that if a tsunami would hit its tracks would be wiped away. The 2.45 hour journey was comfortable and offered fantastic views even to the tired and jetlagged traveller I was. I did not do much but gazing out of the window, shooting some pictures and video’s, and sending a few messages.
I could of course end this story by telling that this is what I have always wanted to do. To make a train trip of a substantial length in a foreign country, alone. Not that that isn’t true – it is. But there is more to this story.
First of all, if I wished this to be a day that never ends, this was about the closest I could get in life. The sun simply didn’t set on me, until I couldn’t stand on my feet anymore.
Second, the idea that I constructed my itinerary all by myself (with a little help from the internet), made me feel on top of the world. It is a feeling that I tend to have more often when I am travelling alone, and especially when that is to other parts of the world.
And last but not least: someone was waiting for me at the railway station in San Diego (my partner, who travelled there the day before). I found that this was an important factor in how I experienced my journey. I was relaxed because I knew that I did not have to find out anything at my destination. My partner already arranged a hotel room, did some shopping, and knew his way around in San Diego.
In a nutshell: my recipe for a perfect day of travelling would be to go west, travel alone, take a train, and see that someone is waiting for you at the station.
PS: You are probably puzzled why we didn’t travel together. Well, I had some appointments on the day that his business required him to leave. Yeah right, and those appointments could not be rescheduled at all? Of course they could. But why not use them as an excuse to do something I have always wanted to do.