Hello world!–what is the point of this blog?

This was my first post. It’s included here so that people can see what would motivate to write here without having to scroll down and find it themselves. You can comment by following that link if you’re so inclined.

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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.