Sunday, January 13, 2013

Riding the Train and Doing "Nothing"

One of the photos I took from the train.
Over the holidays my daughter and I took a long train trip to my mom's house - 18 hours there and 18 hours back. I was horribly burned out and was looking forward to the down time. I actually thought I would indulge in some reading, but I read exactly 10 pages the entire time. I did some sketching in the lounge car, but mainly I inhaled the scenery - the factories, the ocean, the backyards. It was amazing. So many things to build a visual story from. I let my mind wander into the sound of the train clicking over the tracks, into the gardens and clothes lines, across the ocean and then… for some reason there were elephants - everywhere - for the rest of the trip. They were leaping(!) in the meadows, walking on the streets, flying over the ocean. (Have I mentioned I really needed a break?)

It was like hitting the reset button for my ridiculously over-burdened brain. My daughter may have been a bit tired of the elephants by the end of the trip, but she was a really good sport and we laughed at the elephants until we cried - one of my favorite pastimes. (Laughing until crying is one of my favorite pastimes - not laughing at elephants. I have never found them particularly funny. They seem rather stately - most of the time...)

I'd say it was time well spent with my almost 13 year old and I felt refreshed and ready to get back to the drawing board when we got back home. You may soon be seeing elephants too, but possibly only if you go to the zoo or come back to my blog… or take a train trip...

17 comments:

  1. Sounds like you had a good time with your daughter and a chance to recharge.

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    1. It was fantastic. I'm hoping to do it again next year. Maybe we'll see some giraffes. :)

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  2. I think it sounds lovely. A train is like an island with no place you have to go and nothing you have to do. I think of them as alternative universes. Glad you had such fun.

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    1. Alternative universe fits very well. I think my daughter will like that too.

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  3. Followed your comment back from my blog. Thanks for the visit. :)

    I love those elephants! The one in your "picture" looks like he's flying, ala Dumbo. Or maybe bounding, like some antelope got mixed in there.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! Yes, there is definitely some bounding going on there. These elephants were not playing by standard pachyderm rules. :)

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  4. You make me want to hop down to Amtrak and buy a ticket. :) The last time I was on a train was when I was a teenager traveling from Alabama to New Orleans. There is definitely something about trains... love your elephants!

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    1. Irene - you really should! I hadn't been on a train since I was my daughter's age and I had such great memories. This trip definitely didn't disappoint.

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  5. I always bring something to read on the trip to my mom's (3 hours) or the bus to NYC (4.5 hours) and often I don't get very far either. I like being able to look out the window and just decompress for a while too. (Though I can't say that I have elephants in my trips, but it seems like a helpful addition. )

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    1. Looking out the window is definitely a great way to let everything go. (It took quite a few hours for the elephants to show up. I wonder what would happen on an even longer trip?!)

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  6. How fun that when your mind wanders, you see elephants. I love elephants and I look forward to seeing how they manifest in your work!

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    1. I can't wait to get started on the illustrations!

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  7. Leaping elephants – I love it! That image is going to stay with me for awhile. What a creative mind.

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    1. Thanks Jeanette. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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  8. Good reminder that we all need to "refill the well" sometimes. Thanks for the fun post!

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  9. Oh how I love the train. I just got back to Massachusetts from Washington DC via the train yesterday. I read. I wrote. I listened to a podcast. I even took a cat nap. It was lovely.
    I blogged about train travel a couple of weeks ago.
    http://michellecusolito.blogspot.com/2013/01/travel-tuesdays-traveling-by-train.html

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