Changing Planes in Nashville, Tennessee

The song City of New Orleans written by Steve Goodman and made into a folk hit by Arlo Guthrie describes a train?journey across America and all of the sights and sounds within. While New Orleans is the destination, the ballad only refers to the experience of arriving with well-crafted descriptions of the passengers and the scenery passing by. At one point, the lyrics?reference “changing cars in Memphis, Tennessee”.


It’s been ages since I’ve traveled by train. I’ve become a convenience traveler. I work hard and often keep long hours and when I’m ready for a few days away, I want to get there – without hassle. Such was the case yesterday. I was up at 4:45 finalizing our packing and the details for the pet sitter. We headed to the airport and it was only then that I looked at our itinerary and realized that our flight was not direct. We had a dreaded hour and forty minute layover in Nashville! It’s not about Tennessee. I like it there and although we’re toting a few good books, I really just wanted to get to our destination.

Five hours later though, we gathered up our things, left the plane and began traipsing through the Nashville airport. It wasn’t terribly crowded and hosted all of the ordinary amenities like Pizza Hut, Quiznos, and the Hudson Bay bookstore. My kids were hungry and so we set out to see just how much of our vacation budget we could spend on airport food. ?As we were checking out menus, I could swear I was hearing live music. And why not? It’s Nashville afterall.

We took a table at Tootsies Orchid Lounge – an airport rendition of a popular local establishment. The guitarist in the corner, ?Tim Gore was belting out favorite tunes from the Eagles, Jim Croce, and Johnny Cash.

Tim Gore at Tootsie's Orchid Lounge

Calvin's Tennessee Fare

The menu offered decidedly Tennessean cuisine. Within a short period of time, any layover anxiety had dissolved. I learned that it’s not really my singing that bothers my kids – it’s my singing when they fear the possibility of seeing someone they know and yesterday, they didn’t even flinch. The boys supped on local favorites and put their pocket change in Tim’s tip jar. And for one hour and forty minutes, I forgot about the destination and really reveled in the journey.

The Last Leg of the Journey

Are there times, other than traveling, where we’re so focused on the end goal that we fail to enjoy the process, the learning and the journey along the way?

Leave a comment


  1. Excellent post, Tami

    As a firm believer in letting the path unfold before us, I love the message ~

    Enjoy the journey, let your destination wait in the wings.

    Hope you all have a wonderful time!

    • It’s a message that I often need to be reminded of Nancy. I need to reverse the have, do, be to be, do, have.

  2. A S

     /  June 27, 2010

    Blogging during a vacation? You know you’ve arrived as a blogger when you blog on vacations! ??

    Beautiful pics on this post. Look forward to more from your vacation.

  3. lovely post .nice reading …. added nice pics also.. like the platter too..
    btw thanks for stopping by.. thanks for the lovely words.. you are always welcome to our space..

  4. Thank you so much for a great post. I have generally believed that life is about the journey and not the destination, but I also get caught up in “just getting there!” We have all as a culture become so caught up in instant and fast and immediate, that we have forgotten the virtues of slowly progressing, leisurely paces, and patience. Like the story of the woman standing in front of the microwave as it heats her frozen meal…she is bouncing up and down, waiting for the timer to go off and pleading, “Hurry! Hurry!” Sounds a bit like me at times, I’m embarrassed to say.

    Have a wonderful vacation…stop and smell a rose or two, or three. You don’t necessarily have to blog – just take some notes!

    BTW, thanks so much for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. Come again! Comments are always welcome!

    • Thanks Paula. My intention is to attempt my first “wordless Wednesday” on this trip but I’m not going to stress about it. Thanks for your visit also.

  5. Lisa H

     /  June 27, 2010

    City of New Orleans is one of my very favorite songs! My husband and I took our two children on their first train ride this summer. We all enjoyed the spaciousness of the train, watching the scenery change, and the lack of having to remove our shoes before boarding.
    Have a wonderful trip!

  6. Glad you enjoyed your taste of Nashville! I think it’s great that you skipped the chains and hung out a Tootsie’s. The original is right around the corner from the Ryman Auditorium. Hank Williams supposed hung out there between performances at the Opry.

    • And Tim Gore, the person we saw, has opened for many of the greats. We were impressed to catch that caliber of talent in an airport!

  7. Doreen, The Garden Goddess

     /  June 27, 2010

    Tammy, Thanks for letting me take a peak at you on vacation! ?? and thanks for reminding me to enjoy the ride – whatever it may be!

    I find that I, too, just want to get there – but last weekend my 2 hour trip to Sedona lasted 6 1/2 because I-17 was closed due to a fatal car accident. But as I met some new friends in Black Canyon City eating pie, I learned of a new way to go north through Wickenburg. I drove through Yarnell which is a sweet little town – one I will be sure to revisit when I am not rushing to get to my destination!

    Enjoy the rest of your trip!

    • Thanks for your visit Doreen. I love that slow ride through Wickenburg. It’s been far too long since I’ve driven it.

  8. Hi Tammy, I just traveled to and from Austin, TX with layovers in San Jose on the way and LA for our return. In both cases, my friends and I became so absorbed in our own interests that our names were called for final boarding. This has never happened to me before. Is it our age? Are we finally learning to live in the present? Layover as time standing still?

  9. I think we all need that reminder! We’re so goal oriented in our society that we forget to look around while we’re getting there. Sounds like a nice start to your vacation!

  10. Rena

     /  June 28, 2010

    another wonderful post….your reflections on life are beautiful…I look foward to them….and yes, I, too have been thinking that we need t enjoy the journey and not worry sooo much about the destination….thanks!!

  11. Tami- love your posts! I love that you managed to eat locally at an airport (yay, you!), that you got some local music (and shared it with us), and best that you were able to let go of the worries and the pre-beliefs (“Layovers are stressful”) and, as Ram Dass said back in my day “Be Here Now.” What great reminders.

    My favorite novel is Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse – the story of the Buddha. At the end, in the novel he is a ferryman (think: bus driver) and just revels in each moment with the people he encounters in his day. I want to be like that – to be here now. Thank you for a contemporary version thereof! And enjoy your trip!

  12. Deb

     /  June 28, 2010

    In Canada, Via Rail has a deal with artists to get a reduced fair if they play on the train for passengers. Imagine a private concert while travelling. How cool is that? I have yet to get on a train in North America, but we plan to soon. I believe airline travel definitely makes us focus on our destination as so many parts of the trip are just frustrating and soul raping (as one friend stated). Maybe going back to train travel would help us to enjoy the journey more… especially if music is involved. ??
    Enjoy your trip!

  13. This is one lovely post!!

    Lovely pictures too!

  14. This is such a nice post. I feel this way about life in general sometimes. There’s always something to look forward to in the future but sometimes we forget the great things in the now.

    Thanks for sharing. And thanks for visiting. So glad I’ve found your blog. I’ll be back for more visits!

  15. Love your reflections on life, Tammy, such truth! And your photos are very beautiful too ??

  16. how nice you are sharing peeks of your vaction with us…


  17. Great message, Tammy. I think that’s common in our society to be so hurried and in a rush to get where we are going we neglect to stop and enjoy the journey. Having just gotten married and moved, there were times in the chaos of it all when I really had to stop myself, appreciate the milestones, the processes, and all of the love and support that surrounds me.

    • That’s great Lisa. And it’s hard to do so bravo to you for reminding yourself of it (although I read that you just moved and anyway you look at it – it’s hard to enjoy that moment).

  18. Apropos of not much, I was just on the City of New Orleans train this past weekend; my wife and I took it round trip from Memphis to Chicago (connecting to the Hiawatha on up to Milwaukee) and back. As a bit of trivia, the train currently called the City of New Orleans is not the one Guthrie wrote about. There used to be two trains along that route, with the City of New Orleans being the “day” train, and the Panama Limited as the overnight train. When they dropped to one train per day, they kept the overnight train (the Panama Limited), but owing to the popularity of the song, they renamed it to “City of New Orleans.”

  19. P.S. If you’re not in a huge hurry, and it goes where you’re going, train travel is fantastic. Ultra-low-stress, and generally quite comfortable.

  20. It was a blast. That was our second overnight round-trip on that route (much lower-stress than flying, especially during the holidays), and our fifth or sixth overall — we often take it the other way to go to New Orleans.

  21. Hello Tammy.

    What a wonderful post. Although I love road trips, I love also train journeys. When in train I can follow the by-passing landscapes, in car I have to follow the traffic and thus not much time to admire the wonders of Mother Nature’s wonders.

    Have a good day!


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