Oh Travel, Why Are You So Magical?

A carnival around the bend? Only one way to find out.

It’s the feeling of being between two places, a temporary state, what an ice cube feels right before it becomes liquid, where nothing I do is real and when I walk into a gas station and I know I’m on a different plane than those around me, moving in between them and above and below them but not with them, and the candy bars even taste different when I’m traveling. Tomorrow I’ll be gone, but Mr. Gorman will still be here, restocking the Snickers.

I get on a bus and go somewhere I didn’t intend to be, somewhere no one knows or expects me. I’m disrupting the time-space continuum. My body in this place wasn’t supposed to happen, but here I am. Maybe my past self, one time when I was going through the laundry room in Oklahoma, made a decision to go to Target that day and that made all the difference, so now here I am, in the present, and I’m in a city I’ve never heard of, just wandering the streets and thinking that life here is much more interesting than it actually is, feeling the world is very fragile and that gravity is the only thing holding me down.

The most exciting time of travel is on the train, when I’m not anywhere at all. I’m not in point A. I’m not in point B. I’m drinking a coffee and I am option C. This is like time that was carved out of the real world, sealed up and made into railroad cars, and in this moment I can do nothing besides travel. As the world flies by my window, maybe I’ll daydream about point B or reminisce over point A or read that book I’ve been lugging around with me. Maybe I’ll draw.

I can’t draw. I’m awful at it. The only things I can make are psychedelic doodles with rigid aesthetic rules that I don’t fully understand, so maybe I’ll do that for a while and it doesn’t matter because I don’t exist right now. My computer’s off. My phone doesn’t work in this country. My friends are on my left and my right and in front of me, so maybe the whole world is right here.

At this moment, here in the train, anything is possible. It is the moment of greatest potential. When we reach point B, we could meet a roving band of musicians, or a documentary film maker, or a group of college students who like to dress up in 80’s clothes and go out dancing on Monday nights. We might sit in a café and pay too much for coffee and remark on how fashion is or isn’t different here, and how fanny packs (bumbags) really should (or shouldn’t) come back. We might see an opera, if it’s free, or start up a conversation with a mustachioed gentleman.

Everything will happen and we’ll see fireworks and run along the canals and laugh in the sun and shade and generally agree that life has never been better.

From the train, Point B seems like paradise and ultimate freedom, which are the same.

The train makes this world possible. The in-between gives finite points meaning. Stopping makes traveling worthwhile, but the transience makes it magical.

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11 thoughts on “Oh Travel, Why Are You So Magical?

  1. […] of The Lord of the Rings that can be found here. If you liked this article, you might also enjoy: Oh Travel, Why Are You So Magical?, wornstories.com, a website about clothing and memory, and Step Out of the Van and Into a […]

  2. Archon's Den says:

    I so much miss train travel. Lovely trip, lovely post.

  3. It’s so easy not to travel – to convince yourself not to. And you lose out on so much…

  4. mw says:

    Maybe that’s why I enjoy being in airports and sitting on long distance flights lol.

  5. Audrey says:

    You’ve put it perfectly! That in between place is where excitement and anticipation are. Go enjoy everything, life, coffee, trains, the world! And tell us all about it when you get back?

  6. tomwisk says:

    Em, your writing transcends the blogosphere. It’s thought provoking, time traveling kick in the consciousness. Please keep it up.

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