It had been at least 35 years since I’d stepped foot on a train, and I remember loving it. Boarding the Amtrak at Union Station in Chicago two summers ago, I expected to be overwhelmed with nostalgia. I failed to take into account what traveling with a four-year-old would do to that nostalgia on an overnight train trip back to my roots. I envisioned a nice dinner in the dining car, and then sitting side by side in the observation car talking about the changing terrain and the vast distances we were covering across America. Corban would relax and drift off to sleep on my lap, lulled by the sounds of a train on rails.
Corban, of course, couldn’t sit still or sleep. To enjoy the trip, I realized quickly, I would have to drop any expectations I had about what this train ride would be like. Truth be told, we spent most of the trip in the train’s bathroom, an incredibly small and compact space with more knobs and draws and spaces for things than I could imagine uses for. Corban was enthralled. It was, by far, the highlight of his trip. It was a good reminder to me to look for the memorable and the magic in the journey, and not just the destination.