I remember thinking this before…maybe it was when someone else died…I could see myself on a train…and on this train I’m chugging along and I’m looking out the window and people get on and I am with them and after a while they get off….but I’m always on the train…I don’t get off. Some things/circumstances/people accompany me for a long time; a very long time. And I’m really sure these companions will always be there…but actually they are on their own train and they peel off on a branch line while my train chugs on in its own direction; and I wave out of the window as they disappear into the distance and then I can’t see them any more. But I can remember them. We had a great time and we loved each other, we played together, we annoyed each other, but it really was time to chug on to the next new, exciting, unknown destination; informed, shaped, changed and inspired by those travelling companions.
I think you can get anywhere from King’s Cross/St. Pancras Station. It’s linked directly to Europe by train and I think train journeys beat air travel any day. Unless it’s a regular, familiar journey, shortish airplane journeys are particularly jarring to the brain – I just don’t think we are built for the sudden change of places. Jay and I took the train from Paris to Nice once, and it was so exciting when I saw the train guards at Nice station in their smart hats on the express train which had just come in from…Moscow!! I cannot think of 2 more different places in Europe than Nice and Moscow. Gonna do that journey one day!
Nephew D and his wife and 3 children are continuing their journey and will soon be heading to Alexandria in Egypt (wow!!). Niece L (15) and nephew S (11) are leaving with my sister this week, to a new life in the U.S. We had some fun times together and I have seen those two grow up over the last 10 years as they stayed at my house for holiday club at my church almost every year. Their trains are peeling off for the MD zip code and I will no doubt get glimpses of them through the window as they go off to exciting, strange new challenges….making new friends and getting used to the language…taking their British ways and customs and morphing back into the U.S version of themselves (they were after all, born American). I do hope they will nevertheless remain British, at their core at least. What does that mean? To me, it means tolerant, accepting, understated, with Christian values if not Christian faith; which in turn means open, loving, forgiving, interested in justice and fairness and equality; humble and un-shouty….but with an assuredness and confidence that comes from a rich culture and history which helps you know who you are.
I’ve never lived in another country. In fact, I’ve never lived in another town!! But I am, of course, a traveller…L and S are getting off my train for the time being; (cat) Troy carries on his story somewhere else…and that leaves some room for new adventures for me and Jay. In the meantime, I’m waving from my train, and I thank you, darlings, for your company. See you again soon!