Trains, Planes, Automobiles

I have taken them all to travel this semester. Actually, I’ve also travelled by boat since my parents and I took the ferry to and from the Toronto Islands for a morning trip in August. I’ve taken subways and streetcars on a regular basis and unfortunately that includes a bus ride every day to and from York’s campus (it’s that far north from the furthest tip of the current subway line–an unfortunate situation that won’t be fixed until 2016).

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My friends and family have reacted to these different forms of transportation. They felt much safer about me riding on the planes. They thought the train was romantic and perfect for a short weekend trip. They always cautiously asked about the “horrendous” bus ride. But I actually like all three forms of transportation for different reasons. Planes are great for the floating feeling, the complete removal from life. It feels as if I get from point a to point b without really making the journey. Trains are romantic. The steam, gathering on the platform to watch its light appear down the track and pull up. I love most how it does have the constant motion of travel, but in a lulling way that doesn’t jar my book or laptop computer. And finally the bus. Not as bad as I expected. It reminded me the most of car trips when I was younger, the cross-country trips from Texas or Illinois to Tennessee for family gatherings for Christmas or summer vacations to grandma’s house. I slept through most of my rides this weekend, enjoying the rocking motion as we passed the snow-drifty towns in Canada and Michigan.

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There are downsides to every type of transportation. Planes have airports and get held up by bad weather so easily. Not to mention the fares . . . Trains are wonderful, but can be just as expensive as plane tickets but without the same speed. Plus the play I worked on last spring, The Mystery Plays by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, has many scary references to Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train and then includes a train crash killing everyone aboard in the first act. With the bus, it takes longer, I don’t feel safe with all the stopping, starting, and jarring motion of the roads to get out my laptop to pass the time. There are stops, but it means sitting in the same plane-sized area but for a much longer period of time.

Either way, whichever type of transportation I choose or am left with, I do appreciate journeys. They always leave me time to reconsider both places and how I change with every journey I take. It was a nice break this past week to travel right in the middle of finals. It reminded me of everything that I want outside of these final papers and helped me realize that I am moving forward even as the constant drag of program requirements and final research papers makes me feel trapped, restricted by everyone else’s expectations. Then again, it also helped that I was traveling in order to see the production of my short play Chair with Man at Michigan State University (more to follow on this later).

Only a few more days until I’m back in Austin, TX. Only a few days before another plane ride or two gives me time to think about my life here in Toronto and the life I transitioned away from in Texas. Always moving forward.

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About austinausten88

Playwright in love with Classic films, afternoon tea, and Noel Coward. She recently graduated from Rice University. In the fall, she will be exchanging her English major undergraduate status for that of Theatre & Performance Studies graduate student.
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