Travel and identity

by Steve Brock on December 9, 2010

Even an old train museum can reveal new insights...

Here’s one more illustration – a briefer one –  on intergenerational travel and what I have learned from our Guys Days, short half-day or so local trips with my sons and my dad.

We’re blessed to live in the Pacific Northwest where there is always something interesting to discover: moutains, rivers, islands, trails, big cities and small towns. A few weeks ago, we ventured out and found something even more unexpected: an old outdoor train museum.

Along an abandoned railroad siding stood a dozen or so old, rusting steam engines along with dilapidated freight and passenger cars of various types and ages. The sky intermittently sputtered rain on us but we managed to examine most of the old trains between drizzles.

The images here are of the various numbers used to identify the engines. The numbers, in a way, provided a sense of identity to these large pieces of transportation equipment that otherwise all looked alike in a busy train yard.

One of the benefits of Guys Days are that while not much may happen, we’re constantly discovering new things, both about the area around us and about ourselves. On this day, looking at the peeling numbers that identified these old trains made me realize how Guys Days helps me with my own sense of identity.

By spending time doing things together with my dad and my sons, we not only reinforce a feeling of belonging, but we pass on to each other what it means to be a family. Crises and daily pressures help define us and shape who we are individually and as a family. But these simple trips and times of discovery and wonder help us to share in common pleasures and learn each other’s story just a little better.

I don’t have a full answer as to what it means, in my case, to be a Brock. But I’m thankful for this small trip that helped me at least ask the question and to realize, in part, that I will find the answer through the shared experience of such trips.

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