Summer of '76

In the beginning …

In the beginning there was the morning on a train, heading out of Marseille, along the jagged, rocky and hilly, but ever so beautiful, coastline of the Côte d’Azur, the French Riviera. With every bay, every hilltop, the train came closer to the magic goal of Monaco, where I was headed. Just me and my backpack. The year was 1975 and I had traveled 2 nights and a day on trains to wake up to this sight. Maybe that is where the idea of this book was born.

writingOr maybe it was later, in the Austrian Alps, running across a mountain meadow (not unlike Maria in The Sound of Music). Or maybe it was on a late night at the train station in Cologne, watching night trains load and roll out into the darkness for destinations far, far away.

All I know is that one day in my mind there was the idea to capture those experiences, the people, the world of traveling in a book. With some scenes in mind, I eventually started writing. There was a scene with an American girl and her backpack at an Austrian train station. I called her Carensa, Carensa Holt. The plan was to follow her journey for a chapter or two. Then a funny thing happened. Carensa grew with the story and took over, became the main character. It was now her story.

I wrote on the story for a while and then life came along. The chapters got put away, but Carensa never really left. Every so often she’d poke her head in, as if to remind me that the story was still unfinished. So now it’s time to finish it and tell the whole story.

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