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Chug, Chug, Toot, Toot

Want to do something very fun? Have an adventure? Or create a retreat? I was anticipating the fun and would never have guessed that the adventure and retreat would come with the purchase of a ticket.

train tracks

I bought a ticket on Amtrak for a sleeper berth to San Francisco and spent 21 hours each direction on the train. It was so fun to just sit back and enjoy the ride and not have to drive or fight traffic to get to the airport. A friend drove me to the train station, which is hosted by the volunteers from our local retirement community. We were not searched nor did we have to remove our shoes – except to crawl into the bunk at night.

I ate six very nice meals in the dining car and could have gone to the Parlor Car for a wine tasting experience. There was an activity station and a lounge on board. I was served Champagne upon arrival to my compartment while I was awaiting my first meal – lunch. The meals were a part of the ticket price even though I had packed a bag of food to eat to cover the trip.

I was seated at a table in the dining car with 3 other people and we introduced ourselves and had a nice conversation. New acquaintances to enjoy and even the rather dower older man who held his newspaper in front of his face, came alive as I tried to understand how to take the shuttle bus from my destination station into the city and get off at the correct stop to connect with the Outbound Muni Train.

There were a number of children on the train, and one passenger apparently “cussed” at a couple of them, but that was taken care of quietly without rowdiness. Most of the children were enjoying the adventure part and did not want to hang out with the older folks or the readers.

We went through the heavy snow during the night and awoke to sunshine the next morning.

Stretching long legs was part of the adventure. We had longer stops at several of the stations so I challenged myself to see how many times I could walk the length of the train before we departed.

I read a whole book on my Kindle from beginning to end on the first part of the trip. Sheer bliss!

The shower was warm and good and helped to settle the body for a fair nights rest.

On the return journey I discovered my retreat. My travel partner woke up with a headache and the morning sun streaming in was just too much. So I closed the curtains, turned off the lights and made a dark cave for healing and napping.

I could not use my computer to write, it was too dark to even use the Kindle to read, and I had no desire to play any more games on my Nintendo DS – Brainage. After a few minutes of feeling a bit resentful, I decided to give myself a meditation retreat instead. I decided to be still. My mind wandered at first to our finances and my worries about those issues. I decided to give my stock portfolio a funeral service in my mind and then conjure up a new portfolio deciding what would be the new outcome.

My mind would not let go again, so I focused on how I was going to make magic for our Christmas part of our celebration and what would be my spiritual journey through the holidays and all the company coming and going. I felt myself relaxing with such intense focus and feeling pleased about my plans and ideas.

I then thought about all the people I had talked to and connected wit on this 8 day adventure. I recalled their faces and our words shared and included a little blessing for each one. I thought about all of the people I said goodbye to this year and about what we shared in this life together; a mini memorial and remembrance honoring the times of our lives.

My Mother would have been 95 on the 29th of November, but she left this earth a year and a half ago.

I thought about her, her life, our time together and made a list of the important lessons she was hoping I had learned from her. The birthday celebration was all in my head – a retreat.

I felt refreshed as I left the ride into the rain. It was lovely to crawl into my own bed and sink into the comforter. I was at Peace – I was still.

What do you do when things don’t quite go according to plan? Lemons to Lemonade? How do you find Peace on your journey?

8 Responses to “Chug, Chug, Toot, Toot”

  1. Dot Says:

    What a wonderful trip! I used to love to travel by train to my uncle’s house in upper Connecticut for Thanksgiving. It as a much shorter trip but with a few of the same elements. Sadly, my uncle passed away in 1990 and since then I haven’t had a reason to travel for the holidays.

    I’m amazed at how you made the environment your own, despite how different it was from your usual surroundings.

    By the way, I discovered that I forgot to add you to my Gratitude Page, so I’m going to keep the page up for an extra two weeks now that I’ve added you.

    Dots last blog post..Blogcation

  2. Patricia Says:

    Hey Dot – I just loved the train ride and when I found my recovery from my expectations I enjoyed the retreat too….

    Thank you for adding me to your gratitude page…what a nice gift that is coming from you…thank you

    And let’s save our pennies and get you a train ticket to come out here – during the good weather! and we’ll show you around maybe go see Vered and Barbara!!!???? Let’s get Barbara to organize a blogging conference in Oregon? Oh the challenge is on!

  3. Jannie Says:

    First of all, that sounded like an amazing way to take a trip. I have had some very pleasant times on trains but not for a night stay too.

    Like the champagne welcome part!

    Since becoming a mom I usually expect things won’t go as planned so am pretty used to going with the flow.

    And when yucky things do happen, I write a song about it to cope.

    (Or eat 7 small lollipops.)

    Jannies last blog post..And some SEO in a pear tree

  4. Patricia Says:

    Jannie it is so nice to hear from you….7 lollipops would OD me these days…getting a special needs child to age 22 – alive and in college – really created lots of skills with things not going right…I just get more upset with myself when I was going to use the time for me and that gets nixed…exploded….I would need the SEES factory to cope! sometimes…so I was proud to be trapped on the train and able to find a positive spin!

    The Champagne was lovely….I wish I could write a song…I think I will break into the poetry journal again and see if that helps…too

    Keep singing….did you do a song for your holiday greeting on http://www.letsliveforever.com?
    I hope so

  5. Davina Says:

    Hi Patricia. I felt relaxed just by reading your account of this trip. I probably would have approached it the same way you did; go with the flow :-)

    Davinas last blog post..When Fear Closes In, Take Action

  6. Betsy Says:

    Hi Patricia! What a lovely time you must have had. One of my fondest memories of a trip my daughter and I took to Europe a few years ago is the overnight sleeper train from Paris to Munich. I felt so Ingrid Bergman or something! It’s a great way to travel, so retro and relaxing.

    I liked how you savored the moment to just be, too. It’s so hard with all the distractions to do that. Great post!

    Betsys last blog post..THINKING OUTSIDE THE TRIBE

  7. Patricia Says:

    Davina,
    Yep go with the flow and on the train the clicky clack makes a kind of rhythm that helps that energy. It was a great trip…so much more relaxing than the plane

  8. Patricia Says:

    Betsy,
    Thank you for the nice words. I am going to the UK for my 60th birthday and my oldest daughter is going with me. I am doing a tour for my first trip hoping to see where my family came from and connect in some way to my roots.

    After being gone it will take me awhile to get caught up on reading everyone’s great stuff….as the posts go on…

    thank you for coming by…