I’m on a train to Melbourne. It’s getting late at 10:27pm. We’ve just left sleepy old Moss Vale roughly 90 minutes south of Sydney. A few people get aboard a train that is full as we journey further south. I could easily have caught a plane down instead. Heck! It would’ve been easier with a 90 minute flight up against a near 12 hour train ride overnight but there was something slightly attractive about taking the long route……oh and i’ve flown down more than enough times now to justify alternate routes.

I guess it’s more of a journey this way. Not just in duration of time but also in how you do it. You see more (even in the dark), you watch people come and go as the train seems to stop around about every hour. Part of you feels like more of a wanderer when you do it the slow way. You just have to be willing to accept the path in front of you.

Travelling is always something that peaks our interest. We take in new surrounds. We experience the feeling of being in a state of disorientation without actually being lost. I believe they call this exploration! Travelling reminds us that there is a whole world outside of what we know and call home. It reminds us that people anywhere and everywhere also have their own routines, that their version of life could be vastly different to what we would consider normal but none the less, it’s their version of a normal life.  It reminds us that we are all indeed different. I find that fascinating!

Sometimes we think we know all there is to know and all we need to know but travelling has a way of teaching us. We experience new things, be that culture and history for example and as a result our knowledge of life increases. We experience things that open our minds in ways it wasn’t open to previously.For that reason i think it’s important to travel, whether that be domestically or internationally.

Travel has a way of giving us perspective. It challenges the way we think. Relaxation is probably the most desired thing about holidays, followed by the desire to simply have fun and to feel as though we’ve satisfied our expectations. But it also offers us the chance for perspective if we look for it and perhaps that itself is a little under valued. Perspective has a way of reminding us that we make up a small minuscule part of this world. It is found in places where our way of living is challenged by what we see and what we learn . A lot of times these experiences are ones that stay with us.

Travelling also has a way of allowing us time to evaluate our own lives. When you’ve got 12 hours on a plane, bus, ship or train there’s only so many movies or songs you can exhaust. At some point your going to find yourself in a quiet moment where you’re likely to think about yourself, your friends, your family, your job and pretty much evaluate what it all means to you.

Travelling also has a way of  helping you evaluate your life upon your return. When you return you can feel a sense of continuing what you already know and be determined to do even better at life.  Sometimes though it works the other way. It can lead to a feeling of change. As if the person you were has changed whilst away. You can feel like a stranger returning to your old life, especially if you’ve spent a significant period of time away from home.

The thought of that is a challenging one. How and why is it possible to feel like a stranger in your own life? How is it possible to feel out of place in the things you once called your home comforts, the things that once were your home and safe place? These things were what made you, you! I believe it’s simply down to the fact that you’ve grown as a person in your travels. The things you’ve experienced in that time were of greater value to you now than the things you once knew. It’s not to say that things previously are of no value to you anymore but more likely it’s a sign that your season has changed and that’s it’s probably a good chance to evaluate and reconsider where you are and what you’re doing. It’s a moment where perspective is gained!

As for my perspective,  what did i learn out of a 12 hour train ride?? Well, a few things. First. I’m now officially done with overnight train rides, unless i get a sleeper cabin. Seriously though? What did i gain in those 12 hours?? More than anything i think i learned that it’s important to keep going. Just as the train did. It will stop along the way, things will change from time to time but there is a journey and an end destination and we need to keep moving with it in order to get there. Trust the process, have faith in the journey you’re on no matter how long it may take. In the end you will arrive where you plan to.

The funny thing is that when i arrived in Melbourne i’d forgotten i was actually arriving at the Southern Cross terminal and not Flinders Street Station (as i had imagined). The lesson there? You may arrive in your end destination but it may not necessarily look the way you imagined. Trust the process though because it will be exactly where you’re meant to be at exactly that moment in time.


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