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all aboard

by Kasia on April 22, 2011

What I love about traveling is not merely arriving to the destination but the actual movement from one place to another. The travel. While on the road for 13 months I embraced this ‘time inbetween‘, as it allowed me to reflect on the places seen and to anticipate those waiting to be discovered. Many 12 hour plane rides gave me plenty of time to muse, but it is via train, traveling over land (and perhaps under sea), that I always feel most connected to the journey. Put me on a train, and I am happy. (Even simply the Long Island Rail Road or these days, the Trenitalia.)

My most memorable train ride to date was 48 hours enroute from Lhasa, Tibet to Beijing. I could have easily flown and spent more time exploring China’s capital, but I chose the option of adventure.

With only my thoughts to accompany me, I observing as the worlds of Tibet and China converged in my midst. I was one of a handful of Westerners and shared my sleeping cabin with 2 Chinese men, a Tibetan, and a few good books. My conversations were limited to very basic English as I taught the Tibetan man to play backgammon and in turn he taught me a Tibetan game.

I became a voyeur. Much of my time was spent observing life on the train.

The dining cabin became my ‘room with a view’. The landscape my vista.

The sun rose and night fell. And again. I could have easily spent another 2 days enroute.

One day I hope to board the Orient Express to destinations unknown… But these days I will happily settle for the night train from Paris to Venice.


48 hours enroute

by Kasia on July 9, 2007

Two days of my life were spent aboard a train headed from Lhasa to Beijing. A journey of 4,064 kilometers to be exact. This time was filled with visions of sheep grazing in verdant pastures, and snow capped mountain peaks. These vistas became scenes of my life as I sat in deep peace upon my bunk, fully aware of the luxury of time. My cabin mates were two Tibetans and a Chinese man. I befriended the somewhat English-speaking Tibetan and as hours grew long and conversation grew short I taught him to play my beloved game of backgammon. In turn he taught me a Tibetan game. In this way, after many cups of tea and wanders into the dining car, more for the sake of observation than nourishment…much reading and writing…time passed. I was one of only 5 Westerners aboard the train. This time was my own, blissfully trapped in a moving vessel. A head filled with thoughts reflected through eyes filled with visions.

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noodles and nuns

July 5, 2007

Tweet Today I feasted on a delicious Tibetan lunch of noodles and pork dumplings (or was it yak?), cooked by nuns. There exist 3 nunneries in Lhasa and I was privileged to visit one and observe the daily lives of the 100 residing nuns. I could spend all day surrounded by their calm. Have I […]

scenes from a dream

July 3, 2007

TweetThese are the vistas that will accompany me on my 48 hour train journey to Beijing…the adventure continues!

visions of Lhasa

July 3, 2007

TweetThe Patala Palace, official residence of the Dalai Lamas A sheep and I taking refuge at the Drepong Monastery


July 2, 2007

Tweet I have arrived to “the Holy City” of Lhasa. It feels much like a dream, surrounded by monks and mountains, at an altitude of 12,000 feet. My head and heart feel light as I wander through this spiritual wonderland with the aid of Tenzin the tour guide. In hours which feel like days, I […]