When I packed my bags and moved to Chicago, I arrived by train. And ever since that May day in 2009, I find myself taking the train quite often. While the CHI—STL length isn’t nearly as glamorous as travel up on the East or West Coasts, there’s still something comforting in the travel. Train travel seems timeless to me, classic. I love finding myself in Union Station and knowing the rush of traveling and the look of the building were what people many, many years ago experienced.
So imagine my excitement when I came across Amtrak Residency. There’s a ton of press going on about the program, though here’s the gist: Reporters tweeted at Amtrak how cool this would be. Amtrak agreed, and made said writers take a train ride. And now, the Residency is open to writers of all levels for various lengths of time.
What I really love about this whole initiative (despite the fact it’s right up my alley) is it came about from one writer just tweeting about a love for writing on trains. Amtrak listened and decided there was something powerful there. As more brands continue to use their consumer base for more than just customers, I’m excited for more things such as this to come to fruition.
As this weekend is another family wedding, I’ll be taking that well-traveled CHI–STL train ride. And I’m excited to sit there, put in the headphones and just start writing.
To see the power and beauty of train travel on the Coast, visit my gal pal Leela’s blog. Last month she spent 36 hours on a train from California to Seattle (now she’s moving all throughout Europe).
“At the end of hours of train-dreaming, we may feel we have been returned to ourselves — that is, brought back into contact with emotions and ideas of importance to us. It is not necessarily at home that we best encounter our true selves.” — Alain de Botton, “The Art of Travel.”
Books are more than just weight to my work bag. They’re an adventure. An escape. A lesson. A few more lessons. An inspiration. And my life line. At a young age, books took hold of me. Whether it was our elementary school’s 600 Minute challenges or SSR (Silent Sustained Reading), I could not walk away, and I don’t think my Mom would have let me. Books have always found their way into my hands. Into my brain. And into my soul.
Today on The Book Bench (from The New Yorker), I came across an article from a man, Jonathan Gourlay and his quest to put down the book and walk away. He brings to light the one thing everyone says to me when they see me reading: I don’t have time to read. Gourlay says maybe we make excuses to not read simply because it’s supposed to be good for us, and we tend to make excuses to not do good things (like exercise, eat right, quit smoking, etc.).
He paints the picture of what life in the non-reader swamp looks like–which seems all too real. Without books, we lose our wonder, our beliefs, our decisions, our composure and ourselves. This fear is the reason I make the time to read a book on the train, before bed and anytime I’m waiting for something (including while at the bar waiting for the basketball game to start). My body goes into freakout mode if I’ve gone days without heading to the library. And I’m no doctor, but I had a massive migraine before lunch today, so I sat there reading instead of chatting with co-workers. And lo and behold, it’s gone.
“The habit of reading is the only enjoyment in which there is no alloy; it lasts when all other pleasures fade.” –Anthony Trollope
From Eurostar comes When Was the Last Time… focusing on London. I just love how the pictures on these ads say so much, requiring little text. As always, found these on I Believe in Advertising. Here’s my fav of the four:
Eurostar is basically the bullet train of Europe. So jealous.