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Tips to Make Your Journey Interesting During Long Train Journeys
You get a good night’s sleep and you save on hotel stay. But longer trips that involve not only night but also daytime travel can become quite a bore. It gets worse when all the passengers sit ignoring each other, talking endlessly on their mobile phones, or staring at a book, or simply sleeping all the time. So what can we do about it? Here are some suggestions to make your travel interesting and a great “time pass”.
LEARN A NEW SUBJECT
Train travel is great time to learn about a new subject. For example if your co-passenger is a retired forest official, you can find out all about forestry, most people love talking about their work and a ready listener can be a great encouragement. The trick is to ask questions at appropriate times and showing genuine interest in the subject. You will be surprised how people tell a total stranger about their work and life in substantial detail. Learn about places with passengers from various towns traveling, it is a wonderful time to learn about places. Ask about the passenger’s town. Where is it? How big is the town? What are its popular arts and crafts? What are the sites to see, temples, churches, gardens. Which are the best restaurants? What are the special foods of the area? The more you ask the more you learn. File it away in your memory and enjoy the knowledge when you need it. Reach out to different age groups.
If you are a young traveler, take some time talking to elderly co-passengers. You will be surprised at what you learn from them. If you are a senior, you will enjoy talking to a younger about things like studies, games, music or even computers. Once you develop the art of conversing with strangers they won’t be strangers anymore and you will enjoy the company and add to your knowledge base.
Trains are a great place to make friends, especially if you are traveling by day. So as soon as you take your seat or berth put on your friendly face and strike up a conversation with your co-passengers. One standard icebreaker line is “where are you traveling to?” But after you get the reply be prepared to follow up with some words like “Oh Pune? Do you live there?” and from there on keep the ball rolling. You will be surprised how many passengers will join into the conversation and very soon you will all be one happy group. Keeping your antenna up will give you good clues about what your co-passengers are comfortable with.
PLAY A GUESSING GAME
I find that trying to guess where folks are from and what they do is a great time pass. This game is fun and improves your observation powers greatly. Here is how it goes. Select co-passengers for observation. Look at his or her luggage; see the way they dress, notice their accent and mannerisms. Are they using a laptop? What are they reading? What they talk about on the mobile phone. Factor in their age and soon you are ready to make a mental profile of the person. Finally check if you were right by asking the person. Of course it is important not to stare; the whole observation stage has to be done subtly. I once met a man who had large healed scars on his hands. I took a chance and asked if he was a veterinarian or dealt with animals and it turned out that he was a zookeeper in Singapore. What he told me about his adventures was fascinating and the trip passed so quickly.
LEARN TO USE HUMOUR
Conversation can be fun when you use humor to lighten a subject. The most sullen of passengers will warm to the subject with a little lighthearted fun. It is of course important to not only select the subject to explore further but also the right type of person to engage in a humorous conversation. Some types of humour may be inappropriate in some company. For example telling a bar joke to a traveling nun won’t work. With experience you will learn to tread the right path. And if you do goof up, no worry, because when you get off the train you can forget that you ever put your foot in your mouth.
AT THE END OF THE TRIP
There will be some you meet that you will remember for a long time and many others that you will forget immediately. But if you do want to continue your relations with someone do make it a point to exchange cards or take down each other’s email ids or take down the phone number in your mobile phone. Remember to note down where and when you met otherwise you will be wondering whose number you have in your mobile. Luckily foe us, that in this Internet age it is easy to keep in touch, exchanges photos and bump into each other in cyberspace.