GOING CARFREE IN LOS ANGELES…

First, I’d like to back-track.  My car was repossessed a few months ago, which ended up being a huge blessing once I let go of my “automotive conditioning” (that’s what I call it).  My initial intention was to get another car, but after riding mass transit for a few weeks, I began to rethink purchasing another car -at least for now.
I had a stiffness in my neck and tightness in my hip that began to disappear after a about two weeks of not driving, and I wanted to read again!  I hadn’t had the time or desire to read in almost two years, because I was too busy driving (sitting in traffic, rather) the equivalent of a second job!
I decided the perfect book to start would be “Travels With Charley” by John Steinbeck.  In the book, he travels across country with his dog Charley (I don’t have a dog) to places he has never been, not knowing what to expect, but open to just about anything.  It was amazing, by the way.
I have discovered that I love trains -they’re so natural, organic.  As I hear the clanking sounds (the amtrak/metrolink travels partially on a freight line-it’s not a smooth subway ride w/ just the hum/roar), I can feel the generations of laborers that laid the tracks by hand. It feels good, and even gives me comfort and relaxes me.

Los Angeles Union Station is reminiscent of a romantic bygone era when trains were the main mode of transport.  It’s early 1900’s style architecture (Dutch Colonial Revival, Mission Revival, and Streamline Moderne) is stunning, and should be seen by anyone who has the opportunity.  There, you will see people commuting to and from work, traveling locally, lounging, and taking the Amtrak for a national destination -each person on their own journey.  I watched them while waiting for my train, and felt the desire to connect with these strangers and share my experience.  I decided to clean out my bookcase and leave books with the word “free” written on post-it notes in random benches for anyone to find -books I thought would make great “train station finds” to enhance any journey!  I left classics like Jane Austen‘s “Emma“, Charlotte Bronte‘s “Jane Eyre“, a textbook on Black Chicago, George Orwell‘s “1984“, Ram Das‘ “Be Here Now“, C.S. Lewis’The Chronicles of Narnia,” Alice Walker, a book on the history of radio, philosophy, humor, and about 20 more.  I hope each found a good home with a weary/eager traveler.  I believe they did.

This is where my journey began..

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