The Many Perks of Train Travel

Traveling by train is a phenomenon that the United States has done away with for the most part, and although it is still an option, it is rare. I think I speak for all 18 of us when I say that train travel added an exceptional element of adventure and excitement to the CR experience. At this point I am sure you have all heard about our night train adventure (for a refresher check out Lance’s blog, Flirting With Disaster: The Night Train, https://cr9tcu.me/2017/05/22/flirting-with-disaster-the-night-train/, and Riley’s blog, Top 10 Closest Calls, https://cr9tcu.me/2017/06/11/top-10-closest-calls/) and although this event was a sure CR landmark, I would not be doing the topic of CR train travel justice without a few notes on what trains have truly taught me the last 3.5 weeks.
First of all, trains have taught me about the importance of reflection. Our travel days were such a gift because they provided a time to have stationary conversations with friends, rest and catch up on sleep, and, they provided a time to reflect. Whether this reflection occurred while talking to others or just dramatically staring out the window, it was essential to my CR experience. Personally, these times of reflection helped me figure out the areas I had grown in and the ones I wanted to continue to pursue growth in. Reflection helped me think about and fall more in love with the people I was traveling with, all the while reminding me of those individuals who I wanted to continue to get to know. It also helped me step back and remember the events of the week and the moments that really stuck with me. Without these moments of reflection I do not think that I would have been able to put my best foot forward into my relationships with others and my personal growth.
Another monumental learning experience I got to have with trains is when I actually got to help lead our train travel on a day trip to Venice. Somehow with the combination of my receiving of everyone’s tickets after their purchase and Dr. P saying that he was not in charge on this day, I found myself taking the lead on our Venice excursion. This was such a treat for me for so many reasons but it was especially cool having to figure out the European train system and actually take the steps to get a group of people from one city to another. Now I would like to note here I really didn’t do much at all besides pick a meeting time, hand out tickets, and make sure we weren’t headed to Spain or something, but the experience still made me feel like I could now tackle this foreign concept of train travel, and I am so grateful for this tool that I am now able to add to my box. Also, a huge shout out to the seven others who let me have these few moments to indulge my planning self and let me Mom the group, and furthermore thank you to them for being such a smart, fun, and encouraging group to travel with.
The last major thing I learned about trains, or really just came to appreciate, is the way they can transform a trip into an adventure. The European train system made for some incredible memories, but the greatest part was that they allowed the friendships we were creating to further expand to 6 different countries (Germany, Switzerland, Italy, U.S., Canada, and Vatican City) and over 10 different cites and towns. This aspect along with many others made the friendships we created on CR different from any others in our lives. To share this experience traveling through Europe with CR9 has truly been such a treat and will be a gift I keep in my heart forever.