Sometimes I feel like I treat people as blank canvases when I ask them questions like ‘how does it feel to use a certain mode of transport’. Life is much more complex than that. We are hopping onto our bike, or jumping onto the train in various moods, with various things on our mind and after all sorts of things have happened in our lives. And when we jump on in a happy mood our experience is completely different to when we have some melancholy or frustration.
In my ups and downs of travel and discovery along with the confusion involved in embarking on my own for a massive project, my mind and emotions have been going all over the place. So there is nothing objective about the way I experience different modes of transport in different city, and I don’t expect this from anyone else. So firstly I’d like to apologise for simplifying the world of using transport sometimes. It is very hard to interview people with translators and get to the bottom of everything without taking up too much of people’s time.
However, I think transport plays an important role when we are suffering or enjoying highs and lows in life. I have found myself crying on my bicycle from time to time, seeing smudges of light in the night streetscapes. But there has been a beauty to being able to let the wind flow through my head my while I’ve been suffering some kind of heart ache. It has helped me get over some of my troubles, and I can embrace the sensations of the moment to feel alive when I’ve felt numb. In a different way, watching the world pass from a cosy public transport carriage has given me some space to let myself dwell on, and then expel, various problems that have been bothering me. Perhaps seeing everything pass by lets me know I can let my problems go too. It’s not always good, but it is amazing that we can get some psychological benefits from our transport from time to time.
When I’ve been happy and riding my bicycle, I have found myself hitting natural highs – like I’m floating – and I will break out in song and silliness with ease. Sometimes on public transport or walking I’ve wanted to make everyone around my somehow smile. And sometimes it seems to work. I have walked like I’m wanting to dance and even driven in cars tapping on the steering while listening to the radio. So happiness (or sadness) is brought on board when we catch various modes of transport, and the travel experience mixes with it, to give us something – sometimes for the better, sometimes not …. that’s just my take on it.