Slow Travel

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Exciting news! I have plans to go to Chicago! My husband will be there mid-December for work, and his company’s Holiday Party is at the end of that week. I am going to join him there for the party and to experience Chicago for the weekend. How I was going to get there was never a question for me — I knew I wanted to take the train. I purchased my ticket the night I decided to go. I travel from Philadelphia to DC, which takes two hours, have one hour in DC, then I embark on a 17 hour train ride to the Windy City.

Call me a Neo-Luddite, or a Romantic — I’m ok with that. I can’t wait to sightsee out the window, stare into space, day (and night) dream, listen to podcasts and music (I get terrible motion sickness reading whilst moving and I don’t think I’ll be able to read on the train), dine on the dining car (I’m so excited about this especially!), and just… not be on a plane or in an airport. I find it so unpleasant and jarring. The train station in Philadelphia is utterly gorgeous, and Union Station in DC ain’t so shabby either 😉 I’ve heard Union Station in Chicago is something to see, too. It doesn’t hurt that the train is less expensive than the plane, easier for me to get to, and an experience in and of itself. It’s like a holiday in my holiday 🙂

Perhaps the best reason to take the train, though, is that it is a more energy-efficient form of transportation than flying. I read that taking the train is often 1/2 the carbon footprint of flying. Planes also mess with the clouds and ozone which impacts the climate beyond carbon emissions.

Sadly, I have to take the airplane home, because that Monday is Grade Day at the University I work at (only the second biggest most important day in the life of a Registrar’s office! The first is Graduation). At least I’ll be with my husband on the way home to mitigate The Horror.

I’m happy to not only have a slow wardrobe and eat slow food, but travel slow too. Turtle Snail Neo-Luddite Romantic Dreamer power! Yeah!

(image: a snap from Betsy in Spite of Herself — iconic illustrations by Vera Neville. Remember when she takes the train to Milwaukee?!? I promise not to add an “e” to my name, start wearing loads of green, and douse myself with Jockey Club perfume after my trip 😉


  1. How lovely! I hope you enjoy it! Fortunately, I can read on trains so I love a long journey – maybe you’ll find you can read but if not, just meandering along and looking out the window will be amazing!

  2. This journey sounds so exciting! I love long-distance train travel and much prefer it to planes. I avoid them wherever possible! Not only for the environmental reasons but as airports are one of the nadirs of what we call ‘civilisation’. I probably wouldn’t mind them quite so much if they were the airy (i.e. windy) aerodromes of circa 1930, but no… they are architecturally bland, overheated stale-aired shopping centre substitutes. [Shudder]

    Rather than fly to western Ireland to visit my brother, sister-in-law and baby niece, I trained it from London to North Wales, got the ferry to Dublin and then took another train to Limerick. My family think I’m mad. Fortunately Mr M gets it and much prefers the Luddite mode of travel.

    PS – I hope you enjoy the buffet car. I have visions of many a Poirot mystery unfolding there!

    1. You completely nailed it — airports are like malls. Shudder, shudder, shudder!

      Your trip sounded dreamy. A ferry, too!

      In my mind the dining car looks like the Orient Express, but I know it’s blue and white Americana, alas. At least it has real plates and cups.

  3. This sounds terrific–WAY more fun than flying. I fantasize about train travel, too, but our quite out-of-the-way location makes it less practical, even, than flying! Have fun!

    1. Thanks! I’m lucky — I live in a little town with lots of trees yet can take the train into Philadelphia in 20 minutes 🙂 A good balance for someone like me who does not drive.

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