Hello world!

Posted in Society, Travel at 9:48 by RjZ

Ack! Blogging! So much to say and little idea how to say it or whether anyone cares!

In 1989 I was traveling by train from Vienna, Austria to Budapest, Hungary. I boarded the train early, afraid I wouldn’t be able to find a seat for my long journey. I found a compartment occupied by one older woman carrying a bag of magazines and knitting. I greeted her in embarrassed English and broken German and sat down opposite her next to the window. Eventually the other six seats filled up with tall Germanic looking people.

The train pulled away from the station and proceeded on its journey stopping in several larger cities along the way. We all sat in silence. At various stops we exchanged passengers in our compartment with new ones, but the older woman and I remained. Austrians would enter, smile, greet us in German and then sit down. As we neared the border with Hungary we would lose passengers and not gain new ones.

I don’t remember who spoke first but I think I might have noticed that the woman had as much trouble with German as I did so I might have asked her where she was from. She was from Budapest (naturally) and we began talking. She was so relieved! She told me in struggling English how amazing it was that she could have sat in a train for two hours never saying anything save for a greeting. “In my country,” she said “we talk about everything. Mostly family, but everything is allowed so long as we’re sharing with each other.” “How can these people have nothing to say to each other?”

So she asked about my family and I about hers. She asked me about my travels and my country and if I had a girlfriend because she might know some people in Budapest. We discussed taboo subjects like religion and politics effortlessly. She told me her point of view and I shared mine and we enjoyed communicating and learning from each other. We chatted straight through the rest of our trip and it went quite a bit faster than the first half.

So that’s my plan. To chat about traveling and politics and religion and other things we’re not supposed to discuss in polite company here in the U.S. of A. I hope to hear your thoughts on the same nasty subjects and crazy ideas. I hope to rant on about things and find those few people who find them interesting like my brief traveling companion to Budapest and hopefully, we’ll learn from each other and make our journey more pleasant along the way.

I look forward to my new traveling partners.


  1. Steve Zimmerman said,

    September 20, 2005 at 13:17

    Boy oh boy! hearing your views on a vast array of subjects can be something that will make blog history. I think the best thing is your description of yourself talking to much and having an opinion on everything..

    Though those opinions can be, boring, long winded and sometimes just wrong. Some of them are worth listening to.

    I look forward to see how this progresses for you.

    Stay Well!

  2. RjZ said,

    September 20, 2005 at 13:25

    Yay! My first comment. I hope you won’t hesitate to let me know when I’m “boring, long winded and sometimes wrong” in the future

  3. tim rohrer said,

    September 20, 2005 at 13:32


    Blog On! Negative Sphere of Influence, my a**!

    Btw, I think you are a fine candidate for 2005 Beer Drinker of the Year


    If you win I suspect you may well be the only winner of that award and the Frozen T-shirt Contest. Besides, I’d like to drink any beer you win.


    ps–do you think you could adapt the hypercard game to a web based format? Be fun to play from the blog, from vb.com?

  4. Penelope said,

    September 20, 2005 at 21:17

    Hmm. I’m not so impressed with the Frozen T-shirt contest win, since you stood up a nice girl on your second date to go compete. I disagree with those priorities, even though that probably does help qualify you for Beer Drinker of the Year. I don’t know why she sat around in a bar in a strange city for the hour it took you to get around to coming back up from the basement to tell her what the hell was going on. There must have been something wrong with her.

    Strangely, I’ve never been offended by what you say nearly as much as a few of the things you do. I think we worry too much about what we say. It’s fun to say things.

    I’m just afraid you’ll find out that many people like hearing your opinions, and so you won’t think I’m quite so uniquely cool anymore. Oh, well.

  5. dan clegg said,

    September 20, 2005 at 23:49

    Yay, Ron is blogging. I myself am looking forward to rantings and ravings galore. I much prefer it in person, but I will gleefully take this as a runner up. Now just get to work on those podcasts…

  6. Rachel Robson said,

    September 21, 2005 at 10:14

    Howdy. And welcome to the magical world of blogging!

    There’s a passenger a coupla rows back I think you should make the acquaintance of. My friend Josh Rosenau has been blogging for a while now, and I think may have some helpful suggestions. Also, I think you & he would have lots to talk about. Anyway, he’s over in seat http://jgrr.blogspot.com at Thoughts From Kansas.

    Good luck, and hope all is well in the Mile High City.

  7. Traveling Hypothesis » Hello world, again. said,

    September 20, 2006 at 9:14

    [...] I started this blog a year ago today with a traveling story about chatting on a train. I rather liked that story and certainly hoped that all the posts on my new blog would be as good. I doubt I can say that they all are, but there is no question it’s been great fun to blog this whole year. [...]

  8. Anonymous said,

    June 30, 2012 at 14:10

    Hello, flickr brings me here. Seems to me your stories are interesting, just from the first post. I’ll find time to surf others ;) Cheers

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