I write this from the lower bunk of my bed on an overnight train from Bangkok to Laos. I feel somewhat like a character in a movie or a novel, romanticizing the facet of writing from a train, as I look out the window at city lights and sights passing me by, the window slightly blurry from the raindrops that fell earlier today…
I am on route to a new country; a new discovery and adventure. Though endlessly explored by throngs of tourists, Laos seems to me a mysterious, undiscovered, peaceful haven in which to idly saunter down the Mekong, breathe in the fresh scents of the rice fields, bike through splendid hills, and drink beer with the locals on pleasant little side streets.
Of course, my imagination could be getting the better of me, only to arrive in the infamous Vang Vieng to hundreds of wasted 20 year olds drinking hallucinogenic vodka and diving into the dirty river from one of the many rooftop bars.
But for now, I think I will continue to fantasize about a near perfect place, one of the most I am looking forward to in my travels around South East Asia. Sitting here I visualize myself as a feminine Indiana Jones, seeking adventure and ready to dabble with danger. (Just kidding Mom!)
I think I will allow myself this indulgent fantasy a tad longer, before I arrive into a noisy city at the crack of dawn, haggard and hazy from lack of sleep and begin the arduous process of booking yet another train and hostel; much of the time, travelling is not a glamorous act.
So what is the point of travelling without fantasy? If not glamorous in act then at least make it glamorous in mind. Thinking about the many decades that have elapsed here, Imagining infamous scenes from history, Picturing the multitude of people that have trodden here before you, perhaps leaving an impact in some small way.
All these thoughts make up the experience of travelling as well, not merely the actual act of travel. So, although I am on a shaky, rusty, rickety train in which I have to pee into a hole over the tracks (very not glamorous), I can make the experience as glamorous as I like in my mind, thereby whittling away the hours and allowing me to fall into a contented, dream filled sleep.
Besides, if you can’t muse on a train when can you eh?