Stop the Train, I Want to Get Off: Reflections on a Journey.


How do you know what stop to get off on your journey through life?

How do you even recognize that this is a journey and there are various points on that journey that you can make a decision to change direction?

I am on a train traveling through the suburban landscape. Fellow travelers are sunk into themselves and their devices. Are they commuters? It is that time of day. Are they travelling with adventurous hearts, I wonder. Possibly not. The end of the line is an underwhelming regional suburb.

So what are they thinking? Getting home? What is for dinner? Anything on television tonight? Kids to see. Get them bathed and into bed. God, I’m tired.

I want to ask them… would you choose a different journey if you could? Would you rather be somewhere else, and if so, why are you not there?

What holds us back from thinking about making changes in our life? In other words, when did we hand over the script of our journey to another writer?

Now I want to show you how a slight nudge can make significant changes that have ongoing positive consequences.

I met a former colleague today whom I hadn’t seen for several years. She said she had wanted to be able to thank me for encouraging her to take a leap, leave the job she was unhappy in, and go overseas. There she met and married the love of her life, traveled widely and experienced a different professional life. She is back home as a more adaptable, flexible and happier version of her former self.

Another friend texted me to thank me for encouraging her back into a regular Yoga practice with a practical suggestion that removed an obstacle for her resuming her practice.

Now you might be wondering how small changes affect someone’s life journey. They do so because one positive decision, one leap into the unknown, one small shift in one’s daily routine, empowers someone to continue to make those decisions. To see that the benefits far outweigh the fear of change.

For this change to happen, we need to be very vigilant about our sense of self, or have someone to care enough to listen to what is being said and how it is said. I often find that with just a little prodding or the re-framing of a problem, there is a way to make a change that could have a resounding impact. Small steps can lead to a fundamental, sustainable and positive change in anyone’s life.

Too many people stay on the same journey that they think is already mapped out for them. They don’t dare to look up and see what is happening in the passing landscape that may be magical and attainable. If only they were willing to stop the train and get off.

Let’s consider the stories of people surviving incredibly traumatic situations and seeing it as an opportunity to walk away from their life.

I read a newspaper report about a horrendous train crash that left many people dead or severely injured and bodies unable to be identified. In this chaos, some people recognized it as a way out of how they were living their lives. They walked away.

Who would know if they were dead or alive? It was only after days, or even weeks, when some of those who had walked away returned to their lives, their families and friends, that this strange and disturbing aftermath was known about.

In other words, it is astounding that someone could have the presence of mind, in the face of such carnage and chaos, to see it as a chance to change their life.

Why would it take such a catastrophe to do that? Small changes have a profound effect, as they show that you have the power to do this. You have not handed over the keys to another driver.

Check in with yourself now to see if you want to be where you are at this moment, and if not, make some changes. Don’t stay on the train and wait for some crisis or disaster to happen to be confronted with the idea that you are seeking to change something in how you are living your life. You may not survive.


Lesley Knapp is an artist, traveler, writer, web designer, and on occasion, a freelance educational designer. Her website is a place for her creative expression. She is always restless, and always ready for the next adventure.


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