When I take the train into New York City from my hometown in the Hudson Valley, I want a seat on the right hand side of the train so I can look at the Hudson River. It’s a beautiful view that I enjoy for the almost two-hour ride. Most commuters want to sit on that side of the train for the same reason, so those seats fill up fast. (It makes me laugh how many of these same people fall asleep as soon as the train moves, so they miss the view anyway.)
On the way home from New York City, I wanted to sit on the left-hand side to enjoy the same view, but I wasn’t paying close enough attention and I mistakenly ended up sitting on the right side for the ride home. I could still see the view of the Hudson River over the heads of the other passengers on the left, but it wasn’t the same. I thought about changing seats, but stayed put. It meant that if I looked out of the window on my side, I would see the backs of homes, apartment buildings and commercial buildings, the garbage under the bridges and the train station’s parking lots for almost two hours. Maybe I would just go to sleep. Or move. I started to get up again, but sat back down. Nope, I wanted to do this train ride differently. Isn’t this what this Virgin Traveler journey is all about?
Okay, so who cares that I chose a different seat? Stupid blog post? I guess you could say that this was a statement for me. I’m a creature of habit. I’m not good with change, yet I crave it. This blog is supposed to be about my growth as a traveler on my journey to changing my lfie, so if I can’t make a simple change on a train and find something new and exciting about it, how was I supposed to go to a new state or country or live and work on the road instead of in the comfort of my own home? This is a stupid blog post about a seat to others. It’s a statement and an accomplishment to me.
For two hours, I stayed awake and made sure to look out the window. What could I find that was different, new and exciting on this ride home? Granted, I was subjected to some of the ugly, but I was determined to find something beautiful, fun or exciting in it – and I did. As I passed by one parking lot, I recognized an old friend’s tow truck company. I started thinking back to how much fun we had as kids and it brought a smile to my face. I saw many backyards where kids were playing, saw people walking and shopping and saw other passengers waiting at the train stations. I started wondering where they were going and who they were seeing. I started thinking of little stories in my head about these travelers. I came up with multiple ideas for screenplays (more on that another time). I saw beautifully designed homes and broken down ones. The right side was bustling with things to look at whizzing by so fast. I almost couldn’t keep up.
If I had sat on the left side of the train, I’d be asleep, listening to my iPod (yup, missing the view). Instead, I reminisced about my childhood, wondered about the lives of other people, and daydreamed about potential traveler storylines. I admired the architecture of many homes and other landscapes. I looked — really looked — at the world around me.
To others, it’s just a seat. To me, it was a new view on life.