The inspiration of Eurail pass

Craig is moving to the UK on Thursday. He’s been flying back and forth for about a year now, and he’s now at a point where circumstances have forced him to make the move permanent. The actual original plan (pretty much since the day we met) was that we would end up in Europe eventually, so this is indeed according to plan. Except that I don’t want to go to the UK, Micole is writing her finals, I have my oncology care to consider etc etc. Craig wants us to go to Europe asap (he’s happy for it to be somewhere other than the UK), but I am definitely taking my time with any commitments.

Nevertheless, we do want to go in December, even just for a quick visit. But if one has three weeks to do as one pleases in Europe, what does one do? Honestly, I have too many ideas. Not for me, of course. I’ve done Europe. And I honestly feel too tired to do too much touristy stuff. But my kids! They want the whole shebang!

So I started to look around at the Eurorail as an option of travel. And…oh my God! I have never really travelled extensively by train, but the idea that you can buy a 15 day pass and go anywhere, anytime you want is actually just thrilling. The website has some sample itineraries, and suddenly I want to pack a suitcase and spend a full year getting lost. Can you imagine?

So how would I spend 3 weeks in Europe? I’d fly into London, take the Eurostar to Paris, travel south to Monaco and North Italy, hit Zurich, then through Germany to Prague and then back West along some route that would end me up in Amsterdam, and then somehow back to London. I realise this is more like a 3 month trip rather than a 3 week trip, and I could get pretty tired of it all rather quickly, but at this stage I am still choosing to romanticise it 🙂

I think what holds the most appeal for me here is that I would not have to visit an airport during my trip. I would also not have to do much driving. I actually do love to take road trips, but for this December trip I just want o chill. And honestly…what better place to chill than a gently rolling train swooshing past European scenery. Wonder how long it will take Zac to be bored out of his mind.

(Speaking of trains, I am reminded of the episode of Travels with my Father, Netflix. The one where they go to Vietnam and have to wait for a train. If you have watched the episode (Season 1) then you are laughing with me. If you haven’t …do! It’s hilarious. We were on the floor!)

Map of possible Eurail routes

Obviously a big part of the appeal of a trip like this is the actual planning. Or lack thereof! Would we plan our itinerary, book the cozy AirBnBs or fancy hotels (our preference can go either way at any time), or do we throw caution to the wind and just wing the whole trip at our own pace? I can see my kids turning the planning experience into a fine tuned operation of epic proportions.

Anyway…it’s an option that requires a tad more research. But even if December is not quite the right time for it, it’s definitely a bucket list item that will need to be crossed off sometime in 2020.

750 words of nonsense

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

Have you heard of the 750 word writing exercise? It was first introduced by Julia Cameron, in her book The Artist’s Way. The premise is simple: every morning as you wake up, grab a notebook and fill it with 750 words of writing on …whatever it is that your mind wants to say at that point. The prose is not meant to be profound, or even good. It is not meant to be re-read by you, and is certainly not meant to be read by anyone else. The idea is that it is a “brain dump”. It frees your brain to deal with other things, and it lets your subconscious loose. Everyone that I know who has tried it swears by it. It quickly becomes a habit, and apparently it works wonders.

I read Cameron’s book eons ago, and loved the 750 word concept then. But despite being completely sold on it, I never implemented it. Yet, I often think about it. Recently, I was at the Exclusive Books counter and I saw a copy behind the cash register. Unfortunately it was reserved for someone else. But, serependitiously, I also re-joined the library that week (in a feeble attempt to kickstart Zac’s love for books), and …there was the book on the library shelf. I took it, and returned it over 3 weeks late.

To be honest, I did not actually read the book. I simply skimmed the chapter on the 750 word concept (the book is slightly too religious for my liking) and…did not do much more about it. Certainly, I did not write any 750 brain dumps. But the inkling remained.

And here we are. It is Sunday night, and there is a lot going on in my life right now. Not good, or bad…just…different. Change is coming. I don’t like it. And as I sit on my bed pondering the week ahead…I want to write. I want to blog. I want to be able to dump what’s on my mind, and move on.

Problem is, when you haven’t touched your blog in months, opening up the computer to write is a bit like opening a brand new notebook…rather intimidating. That first post after a long absence (even though I know, deep down, that almost no one ever reads this blog anyway) feels like it should be …important? Well thought out? At the very least interesting.

But I don’t want to write to those limitations. I want to treat my blog the way I used to treat Twitter a long (looong) time back: an opportunity to have a somewhat one-sided conversation with an imaginary audience who willingly listens to my chatter. I don’t want to have to write good blog posts every time I want to write. I just want the freedom to write. But also not in obscurity, aka some random notebook stuffed under my bed when not in use.

You can probably see where I am going with this: this blog of mine, the one that I have created, killed and resurrected over and over again, but which refuses to leave me permanently, it will have to serve as the blank notebook of mine. I shall dump my thoughts here, and you (dear reader) will oftentimes roll your eyes on squint in puzzlement at the nonsense I have written. But you will come back, because that is our deal, and because you are imaginary anyway, and therefore kind of obligated to bid my command.

This arrangement works out well. I shall never again (starting with today) apologise for not writing for a long time. But at the same time, since the expected standard of the writing will now be at a level of goblybydook, I will be free to whip up something quickly and effectively. Dump my brain, and move on with my day. I might even, on some easy or difficult days, write more than once. I am already becoming addicted to this one-sided dialog in my head.

And by the way, see what I did there? After a long absence on this blog, I have easily slipped back into it. Indeed, there is nothing profound, or interesting to be said, but it has been said nevertheless, and now the brain is open to saying even more. And maybe, as we get to know each other better through the informal but always sincere writing that you will find here, we will actually begin to chat. Like, really chat. You’ll leave a comment, and I will respond. And my audience will spur me on 🙂

Oh, wow. That paragraph ended on exactly 750 words (before minor editing). Perfect timing. See you next time!

Over 300 people have been killed in Sri Lanka this past weekend. It’s beyond comprehensible. And then I just read that a Danish billionaire lost 3 of his 4 children in the attack. I am sure hundreds of families suffered equally devastating loss. But the fact that a)he is a billionaire and b) THREE out of four (!!!) makes me realise how fragile, unfair, unpredictable life is and how we can never protect ourselves from it no matter how much money, fame, prestige we have. And I am so very sad for these poor parents (and the surviving sibling) who could never have anticipated such loss. And sad for the others, whose stories we will probably never learn. Strength to all, but I have no idea from where.

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