For years I’ve been saying that my fantasy trip would be a very long  train ride—perhaps across Canada—with a stack of books I’d been meaning to read. 

I was musing about that a while ago and decided to take it to the next level. Since another longtime desire has been to ride the Orient Express, I got thinking about that and who I would want to have on the train with me. 

I went to the Orient Express Web site and chose the Venice-Prague-Paris route. Now, I just had to fill up the train.              

My list was quite long, but here are some of people I’d want along:

My family—because they’re great travel companions despite our different interests; Zoe and Zachary would liven things up, of course

Anne Lamott— because she’s a rare combination of wise and funny

Jon Stewart—because I owe my sanity to him

Bill Bryson—because he’s a brilliant storyteller who makes me laugh out loud

Richard Branson—because an entrepreneur whose motto is “Fun is Fundamental” belongs on this trip

Whoever writes the copy for the Innocent Drinks Web site—because they’re wacky

Elizabeth Gilbert—because she might be ready for another trip and she speaks Italian

Guy Laliberte—because I suspect the founder of Cirque du Soleil is a genius

Billy Collins—because he turns stories into poems that I love

Rick Steves—because he could fill us in on what we’re seeing

Philip Pullman—because he’s one of the best storytellers alive

Bill Strickland—a man who understands how telling his story has contributed to his success

I realized as I was making out my list of fellow passengers that every one of them was selected because I wanted to hear their stories. You’ll also notice that there are no politicians or overexposed celebrities on the list. 

In fact, even though many of the passengers are quite well known, they each have a bit of mystique about them. Imagine what five days on board with this group would be like.

If you were filling up a train or a yacht or a retreat center, who would you most love to have along? Make out your list and then don’t be surprised if you find yourself in their presence someday.

After all, genuine admiration is wonderfully magnetic.



One Response to “Who Do You Want on the Train?”

  1. Beth

    Barbara, I too have always thought it would be great to take a ride on the Orient Express.
    My family and relatives are who I would love to ride with, and would like it to be just the crew and us. To have a family reunion and really spend quality time together would be a tremendous gift since we all live in different places. For many of us, such as my grandchildren, it might be one of the most meaningful experiences in life- to connect with family on an intimate level in such a different setting.

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