World Tour, Day 16/17 Addendum: The Train is Where You Meet People

I’m not a social traveller, especially on the Greyhound. Road trips are peaceful affairs, with quiet conversation, music, and audiobooks or radio shows. For the most part, I listen to whatever’s on the stereo and stare out the window at the changing landscape. On the Greyhound, I’ve been either putting in earplugs so I could sleep or putting on headphones to listen to music.

On the train, though, I ended up having a feeling it’d be a good idea to talk with the lady sitting next to me. Turns out, she’s quite talkative, and we ended up also talking with the lady across the aisle.

We didn’t tell each other our names until after we’d all slept (isn’t it odd how you can do that- strike up a conversation with someone and then, only after you’ve determined this person is good people, you introduce yourself?), so I’ll refer to the lady next to me as J and the lady across the aisle as A.

J is in my generation, probably a few years older (I’m terrible at guessing people’s ages, though, so don’t take my word for it), with reddish hair and a serious train travel set up. She had a full-sized pillow, a cozy-looking parka that doubles as a blanket, and a bag of groceries for her meals.

As we talked, I found out she’s from Finland and had been camping in California with her boyfriend. He’d gone back to Finland with most of their camping stuff, and she was on her way to Chicago to visit a friend before returning to Finland. She told me that, if I decide to head up to Helsinki on this trip, to let her know and she’d show me around. Maybe I will do the thing?!?

A, on the other hand, was from Michigan and had been in California for a business trip. She told us about how, at one river we passed, it’s a tradition that canoers moon the train as it passes. J and I missed seeing that, but there apparently was a group that did that on our trip.

She struck me as a knowledgeable person who likes to share that knowledge with others. The thing about canoers mooning the train wasn’t the first or last tidbit she told us about various things, like the place where a plane had crashed and the survivors has resorted to cannibalism. Lest you think her horribly morbid, she also helped me figure out where things were on the train, and let us know when the view on her side was much cooler than the view on ours.

I don’t know how often I’ll be social while in transit on this trip, but this was a fun experience and I’m glad I said hi. :)

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