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5 Life Lessons I Learned From a Train Journey


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

Travel by Train

As a child, we were very curious to board a train, take a window seat, and watch the world outside the window moving backward at a tremendous speed. Whether we are on a vacation or on a mission, the train takes us to our destination quite hastily.

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

We know that nature is our best teacher. To observe nature we have to travel. Traveling gives us a lot of amazing experiences. When it comes to traveling, the train is one of the major means of transport. Have you ever tried to find out what does a train journey teaches you?

The answer lies in keen observation. As a travel enthusiast, I traveled through trains and made 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 Life Lessons Learned on a Train

  1. TIming
  2. Alertness
  3. Bonding
  4. Nothing Is Permanent
  5. Adjustments
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 lays an upper hand over strength. While traveling by an Indian local train that is fully loaded with passengers, timing plays a crucial role.

One has to carefully catch a train without losing the grip of the metal bar to avoid falling down. One has to quickly study the speed of the stopping train and decide the right time to hold the metal bar attached to the outer side of the train.

Over the course of time, you will hit the perfect timing. You will understand when to wait and let the passengers go. You will be versed in making your way into the train amidst the huge crowd. But in exceptional cities like Mumbai where there is an ocean of people at the platform you just have to merge with the crowd. The crowd will push you in and out of the train.

Timing is necessary even when you have to get out of the train. Once I fell down as I picked the wrong time to step out. Thankfully I didn't get severely injured. The wrong timing just made me alert. (we will read more about alertness in the next subheading)

I should have waited for the train to completely stop. You can't afford drowsiness while stepping out even from a train moving at a slow speed.

Timing is everything when traveling by train.

Timing is everything when traveling by train.

Lesson 2: Alertness

A railway ride teaches you to be alert. Here's a short anecdote that reveals the need for alertness in train and indirectly in all aspects of life.

There was this group of peers with whom I was traveling from Ratnagiri to Mumbai. There wasn't any time left to seek the general coach as the train began to speed up. (Of course, we did not make any kind of reservation as our returning day wasn't pre-planned) As the train driver permitted us to enter into the luggage coach, without giving a second thought, our group of twenty young people hastily entered in a luggage coach.

The coach had no luggage in it so we were able to easily accommodate it. 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 about to halt for two minutes. The next stop was two hours away.

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 accidents while alertness can save nines.

Lesson 3: Bonding

There are many grounds for people to open up like cafes, bars, get-togethers, or party halls. Traveling has made remarkable connections between people whose lifestyle, religion, and even nationality differ.

I have seen two persons who are complete strangers to each other, forming a strong bond at the end of a train journey. They exchanged phone numbers and continued to stay in touch with each other. A railway venture is a good way to get to know the co-passengers coming from drastically different cultures.

Releasing heavy loads of life's race, you are quite relaxed in a train journey if you are on a vacation.

I can recall my two days on the train journey. A family including a dozen people was our neighbors for the next two days. In the beginning, the extroverted people in my family and the big family started conversating. Then there were a few small talks. Gradually each and every member of both the families got well acquainted with everyone. We shared snacks, meals, and touring experiences.

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

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

Lesson 4: Nothing Is Permanent

The best way to learn that nothing is permanent is by traveling. Look at the world moving so rapidly backward, through a train's window. If you missed seeing anything spectacular it's gone.

You simply can't pull a chain to stop the train without a valid reason. The fun I had with the big family as mentioned above was also a temporary experience. Memories do reside but the actual interactions are a part of the past. A (working) train never stops or moves forever.

Whatever good or bad events you go through in life or even on a train journey, they are supposed to end. That amazing girl at the window seat, a co-passenger sharing his life experience, the platform full of delicious snack stalls, or a dense forest passing by! Nothing is going to be present right in front of you forever.

A few months ago I saw a movie called, "Before Sunrise" where a girl and a boy meet on a train ride. They enjoy their day wandering in Paris. They fall for each other. But the next morning they depart only to meet again after six months. They decide not to contact each other for six months. This movie is a great example of the lessons - "bonding" and "nothing is permanent." It all starts inside a train!

Lesson 5: Adjustments

Adjustments fall into a "practical" category of lessons that a train teaches humans. I was never good at making adjustments until I went to Mumbai. Those days were full of struggle. I had to board a train packed with people. Inside a train, there wasn't any space to freely move my hands.

Those days crowded by passengers with sweaty foreheads still vividly flood into my memory's lane. 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.

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

The adjustments are mostly concerned with a local train. Though a long-distance express railway is more comfortable, still you have to take care that you don't disturb the other co-passengers in the coach. You have to make certain adjustments even in a three-tier air-conditioned coach.

For instance, you can have beds in some top-class trains in the world but the space is still small as compared to the rooms in your mansion beside the sea. So, while in a train, adjustment is the underlining factor you have to adapt to. The rest of the journey is pretty joyous. In life too, you have to make some adjustments as per the situations. Never compromise though. Don't mistake adjustment for compromise.

A crowded train may call for making adjustments.

A crowded train may call for making adjustments.

Trains Are Transformational

In various ups and downs in the life of a man, Nature, traveling, and traveling by train are great sources of motivation. That's the reason why many great writers and philosophers have written inspirational quotes related to trains.

Just like the invention of the train has brought a great transformation in world transport, it can bring a noticeable transformation in a mind of a conscious traveler who loves to learn new things from observing his surroundings.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2020 Niks


Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 05, 2020:

I enjoyed reading about the life lessons one can learn from train travel. You gave us five good examples in this article. I have only been on a few train rides in my life. I could readily relate to the brevity of the passing scenery.

Niks (author) from India on October 18, 2020:

Thanks a lot, Umesh. Keep coming back.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on October 18, 2020:

Interesting article. Well presented.

Niks (author) from India on October 15, 2020:

I'm thankful Nikhil that this article reminds you of your childhood train rides.

Niks (author) from India on October 15, 2020:

Thanks, Liz. Train journeys always amuse me and I was thinking to write this article for a long time.

Niks (author) from India on October 15, 2020:

Yeah, I agree with you, managing large crowds is a tact we can learn from frequent train journeys. Thanks for inspiring me. Keep guiding.

Danny from India on October 15, 2020:

Niks, a rail journey teaches you important lessons in life which I had already mentioned in your first topic on a rail journey.

More so, it points out the behavioral traits and how we manage large crowds with tact and patience.

Nikhil Sharma from India on October 14, 2020:

Hi, Niks.

Thank you for taking us on this wonderful virtual train journey.

You've reminded me of my childhood days when we used to travel to our native place from my father's posting station.

There are so many train memories to cherish associated with my childhood. And you've literally freshened them up in my mind. I must say that you're a keen observer and explorer. Thank you for sharing this wonderful article with us. Stay amazing and keep traveling!

Liz Westwood from UK on October 14, 2020:

You have drawn out some interesting and helpful points from your train journeys.

Niks (author) from India on October 13, 2020:

Sowspeaks...I'm happy to receive your comment. Even I'm missing train rides. I'm looking forward to riding again to learn more lessons.

Niks (author) from India on October 13, 2020:

I'm glad to hear that you worked for the railways. You must be having good knowledge of railways. I would like to visit Australia and enjoy long-distance train journeys.

sowspeaks from Bengaluru on October 13, 2020:

Hi niks... You took me on a train journey after a long time, an experience that I am thoroughly missing. Starting with the mundane lessons to the bigger lessons of life you covered them all. Enjoyed this journey amidst a sea of memories.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on October 13, 2020:

Niks, I enjoyed this article. I love riding on trains, and worked for railways first 17 years. Australian long distance train journeys like the Ghan or Indian Pacific are very popular.

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