Our new blog, Train Inspired Travel, is team work in progress – at this early stage, we’ve posted mostly “snapshots” (like e-postcards taken from some of our travel journals and photos) of our journeys around the world and at home in Australia.  We would also like to invite other friends and family (some now based interstate & overseas) as well as children (see ‘For Kids’ tag) to contribute to our blog with photos and a few sentences or paragraphs about their journeys maybe with reference to trains, trams or model railways, etc.

Over the last decade, train journeys have inspired us to independently plan 2 month adventures without the high costs sometimes associated with highly organised, large group tours.  We hope to connect with old friends and new – with those who have a similar interest in lifelong learning about different places, people and cultures.  Over the coming months, I’ll develop – “For Kids” – photos and text that could help children learn more about our world.  After a 25+ year teaching career, I now regularly volunteer in schools, so we can also bring our long working/travelling experience to our blog – Tony is more skilled with the directions & detail!  Our blog could be a way for children to have a purpose for their writing – a powerful way for kids (& adults) to learn.  Examples of content can be posted in “For Kids”;  mostly their drawing/maps/writing & photos of landscapes, trains or trams  (even toy ones!) labelled with their first name only.  Learning activities related to Maths are also possible (I’ll post more learning ideas over time & welcome others to share ideas too);  for example, calculating distances/travel time/drawing maps (most kids love maps!), etc. perhaps using Rome2Rio App + a world globe – there’s still a valuable place for traditional resources in homes and classrooms.

So we’ll post world/travel information that could be helpful to a range of people – from young children to older teens;  from parents travelling with children to grey nomads;  as well as teachers/travel guides planning group excursions or their own vacations.  We want to see independent travel (sometimes with a local guide or similar so we support local communities and small businesses) become more accessible.  In the future, we’ll also post some sample itineraries planned around train travel – a bigger picture.

It seems like many people would like to do more independent travel (sometimes combined with a larger group tour) but with demanding lives/careers, are often time poor.  Only a few years ago, we were in that situation and relied on a travel agent – once, we were talked into a week long bus tour through Spain which we later regretted when we compared it with our fabulous solo journey, on the fast train from Madrid to Barcelona (see blog post) meeting a range of different and interesting people.  Unlike a decade ago, so many people speak English now, especially in Europe, so communication has become so much easier.  Our travel has also become easier, partly due to having more time since leaving our full time busy careers, but also with the ease of access to travel information via the Net, eg. traveller reviews, forums & blogs.  Designing our own travel journeys (a passion for Tony!) has been exciting and we’ve been so pleased with the outcomes!  For example, we’ve found much better accommodation (often interesting/helpful, small hotels or quality B&Bs) at lower prices and our travel and activities now match our interests & pace so much better.  Rarely do we have those 6 am wake up calls common on big coach tours and no waiting on the bus for anyone who has overslept.  Train travel is one of the most appealing forms of transport – a time to relax and take in the view from a comfortable carriage, rather than negotiating new road rules and variable driving conditions; free time for socialising or quiet time for work or reflection; sometimes a nice meal or just a good rest.  Usually the stations are centrally located in most towns and cities so there’s also the convenience of being minutes away from the accommodation and local food/restaurants of your choice (our food posts will be coming soon…attending cooking courses around the world has been a fun thing to do!…see Siena post).  We hope to hear from others about your own journeys and stories.