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Finding Serenity on a 72-Hour Train Journey Across America | National Geographic

The reason I wanted to take the 72-hour train ride from New York to San Francisco was because of my desire to slow down. I had gone through a second – strange – epidemic year, which was very different from the first. The year 2022 is characterized by a constant shift of solitude and independence. During the lockdown, we talked optimistically about a quick return to normality, and soon realized that there would be little ‘normal’ about our lives for the time being, at least not in the sense that everything would go that way. was

But after nearly a year of lockdown, we’ve come to believe that our lives are more urgent in many ways. In reviewing our priorities and interests, one way or another, slowing down seemed more valuable. We promised to live more consciously once “all this” (by waving our hands) was over.

But somehow we stopped that whole idea at the slightest sign of independence again. In some parts of New York (where people could afford it), the city seemed to be coming back to life at a rapid pace. Newspapers heralded the summer of 2021 as another ‘summer of love’, spoke of a second edition of the ‘Roaring Twenties’ and heralded the possible beginnings of a new kind of renaissance.

Twenty-somethings, like myself, settled into the bars and restaurants of the East Village every night. After midnight, the Washington Square Park area was often overrun with late-night crowds, and wealthy residents of the high-rises surrounding the park began to complain. There were clashes with riot police every night, which boded well for the sensational dystopian films that kept many glued to the TV or smartphone.

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Suddenly, the summer of love also became a summer full of plans: seeing friends again, going on romantic dates, finding a new apartment, traveling and going to work at the office. Plan to make up for lost time.

Comfort and space

Of course, in the end it all comes down to one simple observation: we do our best not to feel lonely. The pressure to not be alone can be overwhelming in itself, especially as you begin to find your place in the world.

After all, isn’t 2021 the year of great, great Gatsbyian loneliness? Engrossed in self-made plans, I realized that after those months I had no idea what I was going to do with it, and months of determination to live a quiet and peaceful life after the pandemic. , I suddenly caught myself. My time is no longer mine.

I was nervous, tired, and lonely. I knew I had to do something to change that—everything for me, and I was convinced that no one wanted anything to do with me.