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5 Life Lessons I Learned From a Train Journey

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Railway journeys over these years have taught me a lot about life. Here are 5 life-lessons that we can learn from the trains.

Five life lessons learned on a train

Five life lessons learned on a train

World Lessons From Train Travel

Trains are fascinating. In my youth, I was gripped by the boarding process, window seats, and moving quickly at a tremendous speed. Whether on vacation or on a mission, the train took us to our destination quite hastily.

A widespread network of railway lines in India is the prime medium of transport for passengers and goods. Finding a person in India who never traveled by train will be almost impossible! A railway is not just about moving from point A to point B rapidly and comfortably.

The Benefits of Sightseeing on a Train

Nature and experience are two of our best teachers. Traveling is one way to observe nature. When it comes to traveling, the train is one of the major means of transport. Have you ever tried to understand what a train journey can teach you?

The answer lies in keen observation. As a travel enthusiast, I often travel on trains and make many observations. Keeping a learner's perspective, there is infinite knowledge we can grasp from our surroundings as we travel.

All these years, from five hours of a short journey to two days of a long journey through trains, I learned five important life lessons. These lessons are learned through the experiences associated with my railway rides.

The guard has waved the green flag. So take a seat, and let me take you through each lesson while you nibble your snacks.

5 Unforgettable Moral Life Lessons I Learned on a Train

  1. Timing
  2. Alertness
  3. Bonding
  4. Impermanence
  5. Flexibility
Some people find traveling by train to be romantic.

Some people find traveling by train to be romantic.

Lesson 1: Timing

Timing is the essence of a masterfully crafted life. In most scenarios (especially sports) timing plays an upper hand over strength.

Boarding a Train

While traveling by local train that is fully loaded with passengers, timing plays a crucial role. Catching a local train in India isn't like boarding any old train:

  • First, you must study the speed of the train as it slows. When is the optimal time to grab the metal bar?
  • Next, you have to hold on tight without falling!

Over the course of time and with practice, you will achieve perfect timing. You will understand when to wait and let the other passengers leave. You will be versed in making your way onto the train amidst the huge crowd.

In exceptional cities like Mumbai where there is an ocean of people on the platform, you just have to merge with the crowd. The crowd will push you in and out of the train.

Exiting the Train

Timing is also necessary when you have to get out of the train. Once I fell down when I picked the wrong time to step out. Thankfully I didn't get severely injured. Experiencing the wrong timing once has made me alert for future rides. I should have waited for the train to completely stop. You can't afford to be drowsy while stepping out of a moving train, even if it's moving at a slow speed.

Timing is everything when traveling by train.

Timing is everything when traveling by train.

Lesson 2: Alertness

Frequently riding on the railway teaches you to be alert. Here's a short anecdote regarding the need for alertness around trains and in all aspects of life.

My Ride From Ratnagiri to Mumbai

There was this group of peers with whom I was traveling from Ratnagiri to Mumbai. There wasn't any time left to find a passenger car because the train started to speed up. (We didn't make any kind of reservation as our returning day wasn't pre-planned.) As the train driver permitted us to enter the luggage coach, without giving a second thought, our group of twenty young people hastily entered the luggage coach car.

The coach car had no luggage in it so we fit just fine. After a long journey, we reached Dadar station in Mumbai. Everybody was in a deep sleep. My friend and I were singing songs. The train was expected to halt for two minutes. The next stop was two hours away.

We Nearly Missed Our Stop!

Both of us stopped singing and did whatever we could do to wake up all the guys and girls. We all stepped hurriedly out of the train and immediately the train started to leave the platform.

This incident taught me to be alert in every walk of life. Lack of alertness can cause mistakes and accidents—alertness can save nines.

Many times the wrong train took me to the right place.

— Paulo Coelho

Lesson 3: Bonding

A number of establishments exist with the intention to cultivate community. Places like cafes, bars, and party halls were designed with connections in mind. Travel also brings people together. Travel has made remarkable connections between people whose lifestyle, religion, and nationality differ.

Trains are another place to bond. I've witnessed two strangers come together and bond over simple conversations. By the end of the journey, they act like old friends. They exchanged phone numbers and stayed in touch with one another. Choosing to take the train is a good way to get to know the co-passengers. You can meet people from a diverse array of cultures.

Whether on a commute or vacation, sitting on a train and taking in the scenery allows you to momentarily forget about life's burdens. It's easier to open up if you don't feel stifled by stress.

My Two-Day Train Journey

I recall my two-day journey on the train. A family of one dozen shared my family's car for two days. At the beginning of the trip, the extroverted people in my family and the big family started conversing. Gradually each and every member of both the families became well acquainted with everyone. We shared snacks, meals, and touring experiences.

Senior citizens began discussing the spiritual destinations they had visited. Middle-aged people exchanged their opinions about traveling, politics, and our ever-changing culture. I talked with the guys about studies, places, girls, and film. We played card games. It was fun.

A train ride helps you loosen up and connect with new people.

Our life is a constant journey, from birth to death. The landscape changes, the people change, our needs change, but the train keeps moving. Life is the train, not the station.

— Paulo Coelho

Lesson 4: Impermanence

Travel is an excellent way to experience the impermanence of the world. Watch the world move rapidly backward through a train window. Once you miss something, it's gone.

You can't pull a simple chain to stop the train. Experience with other passengers is also a temporary experience. Memories reside, but the interactions are in the past. Much like conversation and window site-seeing, a working train doesn't move forever.

Things come to an end. That amazing girl in the window seat, a co-passenger sharing his life experience, the platform full of delicious snack stalls, or a dense forest passing by—nothing lasts forever.

A few months ago, I saw a movie called Before Sunrise. In the movie, a girl and a boy meet on a train ride. They enjoy their day together wandering in Paris. They fall for each other, but the next morning they depart from one another—only to meet again after six months. This movie is a great example of both bonding and impermenence. It all starts with a train!

Lesson 5: Flexibility

I wasn't a very flexible person until I went to Mumbai. My days in Mumbai were full of struggle. I had to board a train packed with people daily. Inside the train, there often wasn't space for me to even move my hands.

Those days crowded by passengers with sweaty foreheads still vividly flood my memories. A local train in the financial capital of India is never prejudiced towards any special group of passengers. Yes, there are first-class and second-class coaches, but most of the time they too are fully loaded with humans to differentiate class.

It doesn't matter whether you are a son of a landlord living in a very spacious and luxurious ambiance or a servant. You will have to adjust yourself if you want to travel on a local train in Mumbai. You can never truly claim a seat.

Regardless of what train you're riding, due to the sheer volume of passengers, it's likely you'll have to make adjustments to your ride. You can't expect certain treatment, so flexibility is key.

A crowded train may call for making adjustments.

A crowded train may call for making adjustments.

Trains Are Transformational

Many great writers and philosophers have written inspirational quotes related to trains. Train travel is a great metaphor for the ups and downs of life.

Just like the invention of the train has brought a great transformation to world transport, it can bring a noticeable transformation to the mind of a conscious traveler who loves mature by observing their surroundings.

© 2020 Niks