Take the train and see the world. This became my mantra once I decided not to use the car unless I really had to. As a result I had numerous train trips for my work – big InterCitys, five changes per journey, and even ‘stop on request’ trains in the wilds of the Yorkshire Moors. I was soon enjoying the journeys in their own right – all emails done before getting home, proposals written and a final bit of Nashville as a treat when all the work was completed.
The obvious next step was to forgo flying, but still have exciting holidays, so train was the obvious solution.
Go by train or don’t go
Retirement was meant to be one long trip – Easter Island, Chile, New Zealand were high on the agenda – but I just couldn’t do it anymore.
I understand the unfairness of this – we’ve been adventuring, we’ve done a lot of what we wanted to do. This challenge is so much more demanding if you’re young and should have everything before you. but don’t lose heart – it’s still all there to go for.
The train can be a brilliant adventureWe’ve had some of our best adventures on the train and met fascinating people along the way – the little Romania boy who brought his drum and performed a duet with John on the spoons, watched by all his friends and relations; sitting up in bed with a cuppa watching the Carpathian mountains slide by; the carriage of people who thanked we Brits for blowing up the Gorgopotamos Bridge, stopping the Nazi’s reaching Athens.
The trick is to leave time for the journey if you can manage it. It becomes a whole holiday on its own. That first adventure from home to Athens took us nine days, with stays in Vienna, Budapest, Bucharest, Hotnitsa (Bulgaria) and Thessaloniki along the way. We could have done it in two sleeps, but this was so much more exciting.
From Home to Marrakech
An invite to join in a trip to Marrakech at first made me sad – it would have been lovely to adventure with kids and grandkid. But then I stopped being so defeatist and went on line to The Man at Seat 61 Turns out it can be done quite easily. And could include a short stop off in Granada on the way back, which I’ve always wanted to see.
So caring for the planet and travel are not totally at odds. Travel in Europe is easy – trains link up, run to time and are warm and comfortable. Of course there are hiccups, but then there are plenty of those by plane too. And I do realise that while many trains in Europe are electric there will still be some diesel, but it’s still much less pollution that flying in a tin box.
There is something so satisfying about leaving home and starting straight away without all that messing about with check in and security. Not to mention seeing where we’re going and visiting all the places in between.
Take a look at Man in Seat 61. Put in any journey you can think of and scroll through. See the trains, the restaurant car, the views and best hotels – it’s all there for you. This way you can have the adventure without the tension and worry. Get on that train and see the world!