A travel day

by Kim on November 20, 2013 · 24 comments

Europe by train: Day 5. Caussade, France to Paris, France.

I love travel days. I love them because after the stress of figuring out which train to catch or where your bus is parked or how to say, “is there a bathroom onboard?” in a foreign language; the time comes when the wheels hit the road and the train slides out of the station and you are in motion.

As I board the train to Paris today I entertain the idea of working while I ride. But I know as soon as I settle into my window seat that I won’t resist the urge to just sit and watch the world speed by.

I’m captivated by the villages and farmlands of France. I love the fraction of a glimpse I get into the world beyond my window. I watch a man in a yellow jacket cast his fishing line into a snaking river. I see a gray crane standing motionless in a plowed field. The dry and weathered corpses of corn stalks seem to nod at me and on the hills behind them a few stubborn trees still hold the brilliant golden leaves of fall.

France from the train window OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA France from the train window OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Tracy November 20, 2013 at 12:02 pm

We know Caussade. We have lived in the region you have just visited. Your words and photos describe it perfectly. Enjoy Paris. Visit the Marais area if you have the chance. We think you will enjoy it there.

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Kim November 21, 2013 at 12:35 am

Such a wonderful region to have lived in– lucky you. And thanks for the tip on Marais, adding it to our (every growing) list!

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Patti November 20, 2013 at 12:31 pm

You are making me long to be back in France ::sigh::
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Kim November 21, 2013 at 12:36 am

You’ll be back Patti.

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Tracy November 20, 2013 at 1:03 pm

I love the little glimpses I see of people’s lives when I’m on a train. I like to make up stories about them and imagine what their lives are like.

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Kim November 21, 2013 at 12:36 am

Haha, me too!!! It’s so funny the little worlds you can build around just a little glimpse.

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Hannah November 20, 2013 at 1:42 pm

So glad you took the time to relax instead of work, you deserve this time of motion and quiet observation. The chateau is not the same without you guys!
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Kim November 21, 2013 at 12:37 am

Well, our tiny, tiny room in Paris is not the same as the chateau. MISS you!

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Gillian @GlobalBookshelf November 20, 2013 at 2:18 pm

I love travel days. I gave up on working/reading/doing anything other than staring out the window too. I think it is the only time that it is socially acceptable to just stare into space and let your mind wander so I always take advantage of it. Can’t wait to hear about Paris!
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Kim November 21, 2013 at 12:37 am

Yes. Man how I love to stare out a window and let my mind wander for hours.

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Casey @ A Cruising Couple November 20, 2013 at 7:24 pm

Sounds lovely. We’ll be in France in the Spring, and your description just makes me all the more excited to return. Enjoy Paris!
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Kim November 21, 2013 at 12:38 am

Ohhh, France in the spring. Perfect! We’ve now been in the winter and summer and I told Brian we need to come back in both the spring and fall. Any excuse!

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Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) November 20, 2013 at 10:52 pm

So funny because even though travel days are the ones where you are finally “in motion” as you put it, I always feel like these long haul days are the ones where I can finally be still. Sitting and staring out the window, not working, it’s like I’m finally given the time to just sink into myself and think deeply and really reflect on my present circumstances, even if they’re never more in flux than at that moment!

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Kim November 21, 2013 at 12:39 am

Steph– this is EXACTLY what I spent an hour trying to say but couldn’t come up with the words. You’re in motion but your brain is finally still and can just relax and enjoy the journey. Thank you for finding the words!

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Rashaad November 21, 2013 at 1:14 am

Having lived in France (and hoping to return there on holiday soon), I miss my train journeys in that country. I love the fact that even the smallest town seemingly has a train station.
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Kim November 21, 2013 at 10:19 am

Yes, a train station and a church! It’s so easy to get around. Love it.

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Renee November 21, 2013 at 7:15 am

I’m really enjoying reading about your travels and experiences along the way. I hope you enjoy Paris! Tell my hometown I said hello, and I’ll be back!

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Kim November 21, 2013 at 10:20 am

I will tell Paris hello from you! It’s such a lovely place.

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Steve C November 21, 2013 at 7:58 am

You mentioned being stressed, trying to figure out the trains, buses, etc.; I like to think of it as the stimulating start of the day’s travel. I see, by the clock on the wall, that you were at the station at least a half hour before your train arrived. Stress usually occurs when you arrive at the station at the last minute, and you have to rush around to make sure everything gets done without mistakes, (missing your train) when the mistake was being late to begin with. I’d say a half hour is just about right for a train station.

I love the “getting there”, just as much as the “being there”. It’s the excitement of sitting still, (kind of an oxymoron), and having the world pass by in front of you for inspection. Trains are much better than planes and river boats seem to move in slow motion. But the Tuk-Tuk is like riding with the wild toad!

Savor Paris for the sophistication it exudes. You might even think of taking it in with rental bikes. Will you be doing a day trip to Giverny? It would be a Eurail Pass freebee.

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Kim November 21, 2013 at 10:22 am

Well, I wasn’t stressed about making that train in particular. Just in general, it’s always so nice once you’re settled in and completely free to allow your mind to wander.

Haven’t through about Giverny. We’ll look into it!

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Lance | Trips By Lance November 21, 2013 at 9:22 am

Even though being in a car for a long road trip, or on a plane or train can be taxing on the body, I always get a great sense of relief to finally be in motion. I especially deal with this when it’s a trip via car. It seems like there is always one more thing to put in the car (maybe that’s because I travel with a child!).
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Kim November 21, 2013 at 10:24 am

Haha, yes, I’m sure with a child there is always one more thing to pack!

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Carmel November 25, 2013 at 3:04 am

You wrote this on one of OUR travel days and I did my best to just enjoy the journey. For the most part I did, but with the windy roads leading to our destination, I had to close my eyes. But what a gift some quiet time was!
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Kim November 26, 2013 at 12:32 am

Yeah, windy roads make enjoying the journey a little more challenging. That’s what’s fun about trains- they don’t fall off cliffs or out of the sky.

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