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Periaktoi Writing Post

Volume 54
Issue 1

Single Visual Art Post

  • Essay
Instagram Photo Narrative: International Travel
Natalie Lopez-Durel


This is nearly the best of all beginnings. At 10:07 pm the station is silent. There are no people in sight. We are in a country so unfamiliar, yet the place we sit feels so ordinary. We are weary from travel and know that there is much more to come, yet we rejoice. The day has winded to an end and we have found ourselves in this place. Before this point, we focused so much on where we would go next that we did not truly notice where we were. We grew accustomed to the noise of the airports, the cities, and the busy streets. The silence now seemed strange. Sitting, waiting, no longer in constant motion. We carry conversation in hopes of easing our anticipation. A light from far away eliminates the empty track in front of us. The garbage that had settled there is now visible and begins to flutter in the air. Guided by its light, the blue overnight train comes rattling in. The doors open softly. We shuffle aboard, mindlessly following our guide, Lalit. As we walk through the isle, we are followed by countless curious eyes. How will we know when to get off? I ask as we arrive at our bunks. Lalit smiles, Just trust, he says. We crawl into our bunks and silently watch the happenings around us. The man in the bunk across from me shivers under a scratchy white sheet. An infant lies alone on the lowest bunk, unaware of his mother’s absence. The dark turns to light and the city turns to dust. When Lalit comes to warm us of our upcoming stop, I notice that the trembling man was gone, and the infant was replaced by a sleeping elderly woman. I must have dozed off without noticing. We leave the overnight train full of expectation. Our stride is steady as we cross the platform out onto the street, heading to another unfamiliar place.