This week, one of the foxes asked us about our preferred method of travel. For me, it depends on how far I’m going. I love my little electric car for getting around town, and in the past six months I’ve driven up to three hours at a time for writing weekends, scrapbooking weekends, music festivals, and to family functions. I don’t mind driving, but if I’m going anywhere outside the Great Lakes area, I’d prefer to let someone else get me there.
I suppose part of it is that I’m getting older and it’s getting more difficult for me to sit for extended periods of time. When I do, it takes a major effort to get back up. Being in the driver’s seat means I have to stay in one spot, with my attention on the road. But even if I’m in the passenger’s seat I can turn around to get things from the back seat, or talk to other people in the car. I can knit or play a game of Sudoku. Reading and writing are difficult for me while in a car, but I can brainstorm story ideas if there’s someone else to talk to and if a great idea comes forth I can write it down. But alas when I’m in a car, I’m almost always alone, so I have to concentrate on driving.
When my destination is more than a three-hour drive, I look for alternate ways to get there. Flying is nice, but expensive. I save that for when I need to pass through more than a couple of states, like visiting my brother in North Carolina, my cousin in California, or my relatives in Japan. For the in-between trips I’ve found that riding the train is a pleasant experience.
A few years ago I went to a college music department reunion in Central Illinois. I could have driven five hours, but since I had time to spare I decided to check on public transportation. I got on the train near my daughter’s house and took a leisurely ride to Chicago. I took my iPad with me and read a book on the way. I’d contacted my niece a few days before, and she met me at the station to spend time with me during my three hour layover. We walked a few blocks to a great restaurant and caught up on news. Then she went back to work and I caught another train to Bloomington, IL, during which time I read another book. On the way back home I read another two books and had lunch with my college roommate in Chicago.
During my college years I drove that route many times, but this time I enjoyed having the luxury of letting someone else get me there while I enjoyed several hours of uninterrupted reading. One of my college friends lives in Delaware, and a few of us are talking about taking a train trip to New England to visit her. I imagine the trip will be fun – we’ll be able to chat and enjoy each other instead of worrying about where to turn, or think about road conditions or any of the other things drivers have to concern themselves with.
How do you like to travel?