When fellow blogger Nancy posted The Way Teaches Us The Way, she quoted Lao Tzu statement – “A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.”. Not surprisingly this elicited the response from me that Lao Tzu must have been a Railway Enthusiast. You see, the average traveller has a specific destination to get to that is beyond their control – it could be a friend’s wedding in Bristol; a lecture in Manhattan; a job in Adelaide. They know when they need to be there and where to buy their tickets. From the moment they have those bits of card in their wallet or handbag they are hostage to fortune and often will it bring them to their knees for holding the assumption of the right to travel reliably!
Railway Enthusiasts operate a flexible approach to travel… “Heyy – where shall we go this weekend?” “Bristol?” “Not sure, what about Cardiff?” “That’s an idea – lets meet at Paddington and decide when we get there”… you see, Flexible. There is no intention of arriving at a specific destination. And the plans are not fixed either! Picture going off on a 7 day Rail Rover ticket with no idea where you are going to be from one hour to the next! Nor where you are going to sleep that night – Now that is fun and is what being a rail enthusiast is all about It is also a state of mind that comes in handy when you do have somewhere specific to get to – that Flexibility helps you to handle all the little issues that derail those who aren’t ready to bend with the wind. Now perhaps that’s what Lao Tzu was getting at – the need to bend with the wind when travelling either actually or metaphorically.
This Saturday just gone I decided to go out to take some photographs of Trains, Buses and general London Suburbs in the snow for the Geograph website. Initially I intended to wander over to Feltham in the south-west of London, an area I haven’t covered yet. But, as so often happens these days, family chores delayed my exit and I didn’t get the chance to check everything before leaving the house. When you live in London it’s always good to check the engineering works on the London underground! My branch of the Northern line was closed so it was a replacement bus service to Camden Town.
Here’s where being flexible kicks in… Change of plan… Get off the bus at Kentish Town and follow your nose… The result was a rail trip from Kentish Town to Blackfriars then on to London Bridge before catching another train back to Waterloo East. From Waterloo East I went to Clapham Junction where I spent an hour or so walking around the local area. Then to complete the day out, as the clouds lowered and the snow started again, I picked up the London Overground from Clapham Junction to Gospel Oak and then caught the Barking service to Upper Holloway and the 263 bus home. I might do Feltham next Friday – lets see what the day brings
ps – If you want more info about any of the images, just ask in a comment