Making a bucket list, we believe, isn’t simply a matter of jotting down a hundred different activities and travel destinations and checking off each one off like a shopping list. We feel that starting and keeping a bucket list is a way of life, a way to approach each day. It’s a total mentality.
One of the best ways to nourish a bucket mentality is to explore other countries, and one of the most ways to see and discover the most fascinating fresh aspects of a new culture is to travel it via train. Everybody knows the convenient benefits of traveling by plane, but also the security check nightmares and carbon footprint accumulation. What many travelers overlook are the many amazing aspects of traveling via train.
If you jump on a plane and land in Vladivostok nine hours later, you are lucky enough to be in a new time zone, a new continent, and a different world. You can’t, however, see the country change and evolve naturally. If you are on a train, however, you can sip some tea or coffee and have a peaceful look out the window, witnessing the plains rising to mountains and back again. You will never forget the sights passing through the changing landscapes of Siberia, Eastern Turkey, Transylvania, and Honshu.
In addition, train travel may also be a more economical means of traveling, is certainly more romantic, and definitely also decreases your carbon footprint. Furthermore, train travel may be more flexible than other forms of transportation. For example, in Bavaria, on your way to Neuschwanstein Castle you have a stopover in Bavaria for no extra charge. In addition, many trains are much more comfortable than planes or buses. Many countries also offer comfortable sleeping cabins which allow you to wake up on the go, and save the inconvenience and expense of finding a hotel or hostel.
So, now you are fired up to travel by train. Now you just need to pick a place. You can start slow. Take a trip from Milwaukee to Chicago, or Cleveland to Washington D.C. After that you can shoot bigger. Everybody knows about the Trans-Siberian Railway, but why not trek across China? China has the third largest train system in the world which is comprised of both old-style conventional passenger trains and modern nationwide bullet trains.
You can have the privilege to take in the scenery above 5,000 meters in the Himalayas. You can have a spectacular look into the way of life in Central Asia which is definitely night and day from the sights and sounds of Shanghai or Beijing. Most people are likely to start in Beijing, and Beijing to Guangzhou is one of the most classic routes you can take. The G79 Beijing–Guangzhou bullet train leaves at 10 A.M. and arrives in Guangzhou at 6 pm. It is the longest bullet train route on earth, and the spectacular scenery morphs from the enormous capital city and skyscrapers and suburban sprawl to the villages and small huts near the border of Guangdong Province. The train zips along, but you can still see individual farmers in the fields and watch the landscape and scenery change.
Of course another wonderful and awe-inspiring route is the Xining-Lhasa, or Tibetan High Himalayan Route. This amazing trip is a gorgeous contrast to the Beijing to Guangzhou bullet train. You won’t see big cities. You’ll see unspoiled pastures and pristine wilderness. From the comfort of your own bed, be privy to witness the highest altitude train trip in the world, where the scenery is from another world. The terrain is unlike anything else you will see. Ride a train across China. Ride a train anywhere. Ride a train.