To give you some background, I’m currently riding backwards at approximately 300 kilometers per hour on a train to Stuttgart. Out of all of the things I’m most excited about for this trip, this ride is on my top three. The night train home is number two.
I’ve learned that there is something oddly relaxing about a solitary ride across European countryside. Or even a US plane ride to Florida. Either way, I like travelling alone. There are some downsides. My bags feel heavier than I remember packing them and there’s an anxiety knowing my girlfriend has to get herself from the train station we just parted at to Toronto and then to Buffalo by herself, but the time to watch greens and browns pass by accompanied by a gentle rocking is truly relaxing.
Perhaps it’s because this rocking is something I’m slightly used to. When I was a baby my parents had to bounce me up and down to get me to sleep and even now the sometimes gentle rocking of a boat will put me into automatic nap mode; or perhaps it’s the fact that you can’t do anything but think on a train. I don’t have internet access, my phone won’t let me make calls, and my bags are currently behind me. When you’re up in the air there’s nothing but thinking and I’ve already gotten through all the worry. There are plenty of things that can go wrong. I know because I thought about it the night before. But here, on the train, there is nothing but possibility and whatever way the track turns will be where I must follow (but I know I booked the right ticket, so I’m not really concerned).
There is something I’ve learned from my week in Paris. It’s not something new, but it’s something I need to constantly be reminded of. Things go wrong. Our luggage gets heavier, our headphones break, the painting you want to see in the Louvre is in a closed wing, the shoes you spent way too much money on because they were supposed to be made by the same company as famous sneakers give you blisters so you end up spending more money on sneakers because Parisians wear sneakers and they’re Converse so it’s acceptable. These things happen and there is no physical human way to avoid them.
The only thing we can decide is how these things affect us. We can worry, we can toss and turn because the picture perfect plan that we have in our heads did not go as picture perfectly as we wanted or we can embrace it. There is no such thing as a perfect vacation and I am confident that something will go wrong while in Germany. It’s a still ongoing process to turn this worry and knowledge that something will go wrong into a positive outlook. Where we go wrong can be just as much of a learning experience as what goes right, sometimes more so. The question is: are we going to learn from what we are given or are we going to focus on that picture perfect version in the wing we can’t get to?