Until I went to Europe for the first time, I'd never seen trains as anything more than a way to move cargo. In this part of the U.S. that's all they do, and you only ever come across a train if you happen to be out in the middle of nowhere where the tracks are.
When I went to Europe for the first time, I knew that we'd be spending a lot of time on planes, trains, and driving through various countries. I didn't really see the train as anything but a mode of transportation, albeit one that I wasn't very familiar with. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but these days I jump at the chance to travel via train.
You actually see the country
Trains are the most efficient way to see a country without taking up a lot of extra travel time. Plus, they're more cost-friendly than renting a car and paying for gas or flying to your next destination.
It's a lot nicer being able to pass the time looking out the window and relaxing in a chair about 25x more comfortable than any you'll find in the economy section of an airplane instead of just staring at the floor or at the seat in front of you. I'm also able to read on trains a lot easier than on planes or in a car, both of which give me pretty awful motion sickness.
The best train journey I've ever been on was the 8-hour leg between Olso and Bergen in Norway. The cities are on opposite coasts, and the train journey passes through gorgeous valleys, next to rivers and lakes, and high up into the mountains where you'll see snow even on the last days of summer. We even got to take a little pit stop about halfway through and get some fresh air. It was the most enjoyable eight hours of sitting that I've ever done.
You'll meet the nicest people
I'm not sure what it is, but I haven't ever had a bad interaction with someone while on a train journey. The same can't be said for any flight, and there are always some crazy people you'll run into while on a road trip.
I've met people from all over the world and had some great conversations because we were seated next to each other on a train. Everyone has an interesting story to tell, and often times we end up connecting on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Plus, having all the beautiful scenery passing outside gives you something to talk about. Trains just have a much more relaxed, casual vibe that I find tends to make people a little more approachable.
It's the most comfortable way to avoid traffic
There is such a thing as a train being delayed, but I'd much rather be able to sit back and read or take a power nap if I'm stuck in a delay instead of having to sit in a car in traffic for who knows how long. One of the longest days of my life was spent stalled in traffic in Switzerland for close to three hours. Eventually everyone just turned their car off and started walking around.
For the most part, trains don't have to worry about traffic. Unless weather or some unforeseen incident happens, they run according to a schedule and you know when you're going to be where you want to be. And you don't have to worry about directions or all the focus you need when driving. If that isn't a major perk, I don't know what is.
Trains are definitely my favorite mode of transportation. Sure, it might take a little longer than a flight or not have quite as much freedom as a road trip, but train travel has a lot of perks that make it my first choice.
Will most likely be found traveling, reading, writing, or somehow doing all three. Passionate about books, culture and art.