A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Since 4 in the afternoon I am sitting in a train back to my parents’ place in rural Bayern, Germany. I’m driving (training) home for Christmas, as Chris Rea would say. And yes, the question about home is a totally different one, but am I coming from vacation or going to travel? I guess, the lady who joined me around 7 ish in this double row seat on the regional train that I had to take to cross the boarder, assumed that I was on vacation and wanted to start a conversation about it, but mhm… guess not! Just the boring story about university I was able to share. However, its 11pm now, I still have 3 hours to go until I’m back in my village and trust me – I thought a lot about this question and I still can not answer it!
Is my study abroad experience in Holland actually a “travel”? A vacation? If yes, why do I not enjoy and live it as it would be one, but am actually trying to do well in university? If I’d be there for travel, there would not be a single corner of the Holland left that I wouldn’t have seen –and yet there is! On the other side, am I right now going to travel? Is going- to what I currently would define as my home – a vacation/travel ? The feeling of being on vacation at my home just doesn’t leave me. This train travel definitely gave me an intention to think about this… good one!
And not only this. While in the last year I have rarely taken the train for travelling – or whatever I should define as travelling… – but I have preferred to go hitchhiking because meeting people is just easier that way, this train ride now has proven my thoughts to be wrong. Crossing Europe via hitchhiking is fabulous, so it is with taking the train. This woman has shared their story about their son in the psychiatry – unjustly as she says, another came back from visiting his child since he got divorced with his wife, I entertained a 3-year old for an hour and other ones’ airline didn’t have enough space so now they were drinking a beer with me in the ICe-bar – stories I heared that many people would say: Thomas, why do you care? –Because its awesome to talk to people and hear their stories, help them and learn from them. Now its 11:45 and I was just told that the train will arrive late in Nürnberg (the closest city to my village where fast trains stop), so I might miss the regional train to my village (which is the last one for the night until tomorrow morning) – lets see what happens with this, with life, with travelling…