Panorama of Vatican

Train Dreaming

November 14, 2018 / By: Chloe Lewis

Chloe Lewis is a junior majoring in Business Administration with a concentration of Business Communication with the hopes of entering marketing and content production. Currently, she is completing her core curriculum in Rome and is embracing her inner photojournalist self through her writing and photography.

Everyone has dreams. Whether they are to become a scientist and discover new forms of life, to become the highest paid hockey player in the league, or even just how to get through the next year; people dream. For a long time, I have wondered what my future holds and how realistic my dreams really are. I have wondered what it’s like to be older and established. I have wondered what it’s like to have a career, to be an owner of a home, and even to have a family. I sat on the train on October 6th, in seat 17B to be exact, and looked about the cabin. The cabin amongst me represented a melting pot of diversity. Each person aboard the train seemed to be traveling for different means. But what was most fascinating to me as I looked around is that each and every one of the train riders had their own life story. Their own future ahead. Their own dreams. I attempted to gather more details about my fellow passengers. About sixty percent of the people had laptops out, including myself. I began to wonder what the laptop meant to me. Similar to author Natalia Ginzburg's worn out shoes in The Little Virtues , my laptop represented a symbol of my life, more specifically my future. This laptop is what will take me through the rest of my years ahead as a student. It reveals my deepest and darkest secrets; such as my photos, my emails, my grades, and even my texting conversations. And what concerns me about this, is that this laptop might know more about me than I do myself. I hope someday, I can forget my laptop and travel without the worry of what’s to come.

photo for Bernardi blog

“What’s your greatest fear?” Lauren asked me an hour into our train ride. I replied with, “Do you want a silly answer or a serious one?” She quickly answered, “A serious one.” I thought a moment. Nothing came to my mind at first, I was truly pauciloquent. My eyes moved to the window next to me and my mind began to juggle thought after thought. As Alain de Botton said himself in The Art of Travel , “Journeys are the midwives of thought” (54). I felt my mins come alive, and it came to me. My biggest fear in life: regret. What in the world is worse than looking at the past and wondering why you choose a certain path? Regret is a nail. A piercing, flat structure, with jagged lines radiating from a point of impact. Truly a painful and rugged feeling a person can hold. And I worry for myself, that I will then spend the whole weekend trying to avoid regret. But maybe, if I take risks and live life less cautiously, it will allow me to propel forward and achieve a fuller, and more gratifying day in Cinque Terre.

As the train ride continued, and Lauren was fast asleep, I focused my eyes to the world existing on the other side of theglass. I was the woman in Edward Hopper’s Compartment C, Car 293. The air was hazy, the clouds were abundant, and raindrops were beginning to fall. The colors in Hopper’s painting represented the energy of the train. I was experiencing true relaxation and I began to think of all the things I was about to experience in the famous five villages. We had no preconceptions of what kind of weather Mother Nature would bring, yet the raindrops continued falling. But as I thought, I somehow enjoyed the fact that it was raining. The window felt cold, and my thoughts were alive. Each raindrop that fell was a rebirth of memories from the past. I felt a slight sense of hope that the rain wouldn’t follow us all the way to Cinque Terre, but I put my imaginary rain boots on, and decided that if the rain did decide to follow, it would be somewhat wonderful.

photo for Bernardi blog

The value we put into our travels is different and unique to all individuals. I then thought about the future eight hours I would be spending in Cinque Terre and what I would do to fill up every second of my precious time. Because yes, I paid $75 for the train ticket, and there was no way I was not getting my money’s worth. I could put my hiking boots on and climb the treacherous trails so famous to the park. I could pull out my near empty wallet and spent every last dime of my money in the shops. I could pull out my iPhone and film the whole day for my Facebook viewers. But what is the good in doing these things when the real gift is slowing down. Taking a breath, absorbing it, and stumbling upon where my feet take me. And by the end of the train ride, that’s just what I decided I would do.