In a stranger than fiction kind of way, I’m early. Not just 5 minutes but an hour, so I’m sitting on a bench on the platform of Track 5 Back Bay train station, Boston, MA., starting today’s blog as I begin my latest quest. I will be traveling to Seattle to see my brother and his wife Barbara. I thought instead of flying, I’d take the train. As I started doing some research on train travel I saw that I could get off the train for a stay and then continue on when the train came back again the following day. That’s what got my wanderlust really going. Montana – a place I longed to see, was en-route and I could stop off there for a couple of days to paint and then continue on to Seattle. Perfect!
In telling a friend about my trip, he referred to it as a quest. I’m rather partial to the word quest even though I’m not exactly sure what I’m questing. Maybe the perfect painting, maybe an adventure, or maybe me. My road trip to Colorado last Fall was a great experience. Doing things on your own for the first time can be intimidating, especially when the exuberance of youth has been replaced with the cautious nature of middle age, but I don’t think my age has caught up with me just yet. My grand ideas such as this one, tend to still raise eyebrows, secretly I rather enjoy that. Truly, it’s just a side benefit, but one that keeps me following my own path.
I was only alone on the platform briefly when more travelers came along. The wait turned out to be a fun and lively conversation between myself, a lady writer traveling the country from New Zealand and a well traveled gentleman going to Chicago. I was hoping for such conversations when I read about traveling by train and in fact that seems to be the way it works. Lunch will be served soon and I’m hoping for more of the same.
Truth be told I wasn’t really sure what to expect, and likewise, what’s ahead of me. Packing can be a trying experience regardless, but with such uncertainty looming, it’s a little more so. I was less worried about what I’d wear and more concerned about my paint gear. Usually I save my large paint tubes for the studio and the smaller ones for travel, but that’s not travel across the country, that’s down the road a piece. I bought a proper wheeled suitcase type carrier made for painters, the question became what to actually put in it. When I bought it, my focus was on being able to fit my paint box in it, beyond that I figured it was easy. Easy until you start thinking of everything you could possibly need, before you reach Seattle. Laying it all out on the floor helped, and then I realized I was short on French Ultramarine Blue, that just wouldn’t do heading out to big sky country so one more trip into town before the final decisions on what to bring. When I realized it all wouldn’t fit, I started whittling down on things of lesser importance and colors I could mix myself. As I sit here watching the countryside go by I’m sure I’ve forgotten something critical, and equally certain I couldn’t lift the bag if anything else were added to it. I am please with myself that I have just a little bag for clothes, with a larger suitcase for them having been shipped out to Bob and Barbara’s house.
Tomorrow morning I will be in Chicago, I’m hoping to step outside the train station for a few pictures since I will have a few hours layover – any suggestions out there?