Monthly Archives: March 2014

24 hours in Seattle

The next morning Michael and I were up at the crack of dawn to catch our 6:40am Amtrak to Seattle. We breathed a sigh of relief as we finally plopped down in our assigned seats. We had cut it a little close as I didn’t realize we would have to clear immigration before we got on the train. The first thing I noticed about Amtrak was that the train was a lot newer and cleaner. They even had a designated cell phone area between cars for those annoying loud talkers. Hooray for innovation!

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As we pulled up to Peace Arch border crossing, we spotted a peculiar art piece the looked like a billboard of air surrounded by scribbles. By the time we had finished discussing it, we were already on our way again. One of the more painless border experiences I have had. Part way through our trip, the entire train load was moved onto buses for the duration so to avoid the mudslide area. We finally pulled into Seattle and I was happy to see the sun.

We navigated the streets of downtown Seattle to Hotel Max. As we were somewhat early, we dropped off our bags and went to explore. Michael was hungry as usual so we went hunting for food.

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Visiting Vancouver

We finally pulled into downtown Vancouver’s Pacific Station, we were just over 4 hours late. This means that we get 50% of our fare back in the form of a credit. For us that was not a huge amount seeing that we were traveling on an Express Deal which cost us only $138. But I like that they recognize and compensate when the customer is inconvenienced. Customer service is something that much of the travel industry seems to be phasing out. Maybe this is one of the reasons I love traveling by trains, old fashioned, nostalgic, and romantic.

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The Slow Train to Now Here

Had a broken sleep but I am sure I must have managed to get at least 30 winks. There were really only two positions that were somewhat comfortable, but both of those still contorted me into a pretzel.  I think Michael – who is almost a foot taller than me – was worse off but he seems to be able to sleep anywhere, anytime. We snugged in, tip to toe, and tried to doze off. The only thing that saved me was that there were no major snorers in my midst. Around Kamloops, I got up for a bit of a stroll. I didn’t see much but snow and shadows of figures hovering near the very small train station. It was around 4am and I was wondering what the heck all these people were doing awake. I could only imagine for a smoke break would get anyone out in this cold, at this time, but then I remembered that some people have been on this train for 4 days. They must be going a little stir crazy by now and jumping at the chance to take a walk outside.

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Just a little Jasper

As we got closer to the mountains, a little part of me felt sad. It was Michael’s first time experiencing the majestic Rocky Mountains, and I feared he would miss it. The sun began to dip deeper into the West but as it did, it cast the most magnificent light on the sides of the mountains. The sun setting over the Miette range which was just dusted in a fresh coat of snow…it took my breath away. We got to see every crevice and shadow in such a way, I was nothing short of inspired. The vast perfection of untouched snow, marked only by the paws or hoofs of the locals. Some of the rock faces were so sheer, they were clearly untouched by humans.

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Train Tracking

I woke up way too early but that always happens at the start of a new trip. I had to make sure my condo was spic and span for my renter to be. I wanted to ensure he would enjoy the space as much as I do. First impressions are everything, you know. I really lucked out with this guy, him being a traveller and all. I know its a generalization but most of the time, The Traveler gets it. I have a lot of hats that I wear…daughter, sister, friend, writer, teacher, even cook. But of them all, I find I am at my very best as a traveler.

Travelers practice patience, promote tolerance, and are no doubt a curious bunch. I have found traveling the world has helped me find bravery, cultivated humility, and taught me heaps about compassion…for myself and others. When I am stuck at home in my same drame familiar routine…where nothing is different and I seldom get challenged, its easy. Too easy. Now don’t get me wrong. I am not begging for chaos or disaster. Put simply, I crave adventure. It seems to me, the most meaningful experiences happen in times of great change.

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