Today I write onboard the JTV, the fast train from Paris to Nice. I claimed seat 45 carriage 1 at 10am, for a six hour journey through the languid French countryside. Nothing chill about the speed of this thing though; we are slicing through the countryside like our pantaloons are on fire.
I love love love train travel. Something about the rhythm of the beast, the silkiness of the changing view, the lack of turbulence. Something about permission to be still.
There’s something old school and charming about riding trains. Between the food car, the conductors, and the world flying by outside your window, there’s a nostalgic appeal that comforts.
With no take off, landing or seat-belt signs, you’re not stuck in your seat for endless amounts of time. You can move about the train at will. Since someone else is doing the driving, you’re free to eat, drink, nap and wander whenever you like. You also never have to endure another cheesy Air New Zealand safety video.
The era we live in is loud, and filled with static. There are so many things calling us – unseasonal storms, unreasonable deadlines, dependents and independents, apocalyptic nightmares filled with yam coloured fascists, the white noise of social media – in a frenzy today of course after America reveals its moral compass is broken.
Dedicating solid time to a book or, hang on a minute, even my own thoughts is becoming more of an ambition that a daily reality.
Today though I have a date with my brain and a notebook, and the view outside my window. Apart from the Nice train station, I wonder where I might end up?