- Photographer : Paul Hoppe
- Camera : Olympus PEN E-P1
- Lens : M. Zuiko 17mm/2.8
- Settings : F2.8@1/60s ISO 1600
Something I used to do was visiting train stations in the evening or at night. There was something special about the atmosphere when most commuters had left hours ago and the station became eerily quiet with just train noises and announcements producing a strange soundscape.
The people I would see were an eclectic mix of travelers who arrived late after a long journey, people whose work days ended or even began in the evening or various types who would for one reason or another hang out at train stations. And the latter were usually not photographers like me although I would spot someone else with a camera on occasion.
Weirdly enough I would always be able to grab a coffee or a bite to eat even though it was mostly McDonald’s. I miss this special feeling of sitting there on the platform with a hot coffee and my camera watching trains go by and people enter and exit them. Where would those people go and why. I often wished I could just board one of the trains and go somewhere. Wouldn’t matter where, just away. But then my thoughts went to back to my job and the fact that I had to get up at six in the morning.
Sometimes I feel sorrow for not choosing a different life. Travel around by train, never staying long in a place, soaking up experiences, seeing different people. But when I was in my twenties, cheap travel was not really available, couch-surfing, airbnb, being a digital worker, instant access to all train schedules from your phone… that was very much in its infancy, if at all available. Also, I think my personality was simply not ready for these kinds of adventures. I think I was born ten years too early to really make use of these new technologies when it would have benefited young me the most.
Maybe that is why I like to watch others on YouTube doing the things which I, now with a career and family, can’t really do. Not right now, at least. But there is no sense in regretting the past. Maybe had I traveled around I might now write blog posts lamenting my lack of family and stable income. The grass is always greener on the other side right?
But the future is still unwritten (except if you are a determinist) and many possibilities still exist. I am sure once my daughter is a bit older I can grab a weekly railpass and we can just take any train we want to wherever we want. Not the fancy trains though… those passes are for slow trains only. But then those trains would stop at any little station. And we could leave and explore any of them.
[Many thanks to Paul for sharing his shot and story. Let Paul know what you think of his photo in the comments below!]
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