Survival Guide for a 36 hour train ride. Without wifi.
As I have learned, trains are no common mode of transportation in Canada for passengers, especially not here in the West.
You can see endlessly long trains loaded with goods and containers every day, but the passenger train between Vancouver and Toronto only comes by once every three days. Therefore, it is not the most efficient way of travelling but more considered a stroll through nature. And strolling from Clearwater to Winnipeg ultimately takes one and a half days.
So how do you survive being stuck in a train without wifi for 36 hours?
1. Get yourself the best spot.
In my definition, this means enough leg space, a place where I can open my bag and grab things from it and, very important, a window!
2. Take in the view.
Traveling for such a long time means that you will cross through a lot of different landscapes. For me, for example, those were deep forests with massive lakes stretching right next to my window, high peaks in the Rockie Mountains and the prairies of Saskatchewan.
There’s always something new to see when you take a look out the window! (So make sure you grab a window seat!)
3. Bring enough books.
Books are always there for you, even when the internet isn’t. I packed two books for my journey but plan on trading them for new ones in the next weeks whenever needed.
4. Do some colouring.
Treat yourself to a nice colouring book and dig out those crayons you haven’t used since first grade! When I put my favourite music on and start colouring, I can easily spent a few hours in the zone.
5. Watch a movie.
Netflix won’t work but you there are plugs in the train so that the power can never run out! Before you leave, put some movies on your laptop that you wanted to watch since ages or a classic that you can watch over and over again.
6. Have a bunch of snacks ready.
Especially something like sunflower seeds in shells are good because you can’t simply snack on them but have to work for it a little bit. That will keep you busy for a while.
7. Use every break.
At the bigger stops, like Jasper or Edmonton, the train will make a longer break to fuel up and clean the cars a bit. Don’t keep sitting in your seat during that but instead go out, grab a coffee and move your legs a bit. They will thank you later.
8. Go to one of the dome cars.
If you’re sick of the view out your window and you seek something better, see if there’s a free seat in one of the dome cars. Several of these special cars are distributed among the length of VIA Rail trains and they offer an even better view of the landscape with glass roofs.
Once you find a comfortable position (hence make sure you have some leg space!), this is probably the easiest way to make time pass. As simple as it is.
Do you have any more secret tips against boredom and a sore butt?