I started typing this post on a train whizzing through the British countryside, heading from London up to Edinburgh. It was my first time returning to Scotland since finishing my studies at St Andrews almost three years ago. Each bit of field that passed brought me closer to that city and to my little sister, who was there for her own semester abroad.
In my planning for this trip around Europe, I was inspired by vintage travel. Trains in particular have always felt so romantic to me, and train stations even more so. Walking through the grand hall of Union Station in DC, it struck me how often we are just seconds, minutes, or hours away from crossing paths. How many people we encounter, and the ones for whom we are each background characters. A stray glance admiring someone’s outfit, or noting the book that they are reading, or catching the snippet of conversation they are having with their friend. It brought me joy to think about all these brief and lovely encounters, strangers entering and disappearing from our lives as quickly as shooting stars.
It is even more beautiful when the randomness of life leads to us running into a friend. The summer I lived in London, on my commute home from work, I quite literally ran into my lovely friend Sisley changing trains at Holborn Station. She and I both attended St Andrews and became fast friends in our first year. While we were both working in London then, and had seen each other for drinks and brunch, it was delightful to unexpectedly see her face in the crowd. There’s a magic there in the unlikely probability. If either she or I had been a minute earlier or later, we would have passed each other unawares, like ships in the night.
Travel overall is a confluence of that which is planned and that which is entirely serendipitous. Cafés you stumble across, and for the rest of your life will think about but can never quite remember the name of. Side streets that are so charming you cannot help but stop and snap a photograph, but you know you will never be able to find again even if you did return. There are the favorite museums and stores, the neighborhoods you come to know like the back of your hand. This is where we find the magic of travel-in the memories and stories we carry with us and are able to revisit, and in the ephemeral and accidental delights. I am now finishing this post in an Amsterdam coffee shop, coming full circle in so many ways.
Equipment skirt, Mother of Pearl Jacket, Sarah Flint NYC Boots and a vintage film camera and suitcase shot on location at Union Station DC