Sometimes I feel like I’m not moving. Not moving in my career. Not moving in my fitness goals. Not moving in relationships. Often, more than so, I feel so stuck I just allow my brain to wonder and completely isolate myself from the world. This is why I enjoy long-distance road trips. Driving miles and miles with only my thoughts, the open road, and soothing music that simply makes me feels good. But this time the open road wasn’t going to close this wound…
Wednesday around 3pm I was sitting at my desk at Yahoo!; watching my coworkers pace back and forth. Stressing over client requests as if it was the end of the cosmos. I thought to myself, “There has to be more to life than this. Man, I miss the feeling of adventure and the unexpected.” I discover myself on Google (Funny, I know) looking for random adventures I could take that weekend. Trip to Philly? Done it before. Drive to Miami from NYC? Did it twice. Train to Vermont? What's the point of that? It wasn’t until I recollect reading about people who’d take a trip across the country on Amtrak. The last time I recall being on an Amtrak adventure was when my mother put me on a train from Miami to Philadelphia at the age of 13, because she couldn’t take care of me. So what the hell, I purchase a one-ticket from NYC to San Francisco, leaving that Friday at 6am, and I would arrive in San Francisco Monday night at 8pm. My manager thought I was insane….. W
I packed the following:
- 15 Peanut Butter Think Thin Protein Bars
- 5 Bags of Nature's Best Trail Mix
- 10 Fruit Bars
- 5 Bags of White Cheddar Popcorn
- 5 Small Packs of Oreo Cookies
I wasn’t sure how expensive the food was going to be on the train, so figure I’d treat myself only for dinner and ration what I have for my three-day journey.
I’m not going to lie, if I wasn’t writing my book at the time, I would’ve gone stir CRAZY! I averaged about 10,000 words a day during that trip. When I wasn’t writing, I was approaching random people. And when I introduced myself, I would not spend more than 30 seconds talking about myself, but just appreciating the company of someone else and their journey. It was beautiful. I met this old man, who was probably in his late 80s. As we look out the window as we were crossing the Rockies, we exchange stories as we shared a bottle of his bourbon. We nearly talked for almost three hours. Follow by our conversation, a woman in her mid-30s, dressed like a hippie, graced us with her musical talents. She didn’t ask for money, food, or anything; she only requested company and someone to drink with as she sings some good ole folk music. Here’s a video of her singing:
Honestly, if I could do it all over again, I would do it again, but this time upgrading to a sleeper car. No shower and sleeping on a chair for three days is not the most comfortable situation.
Overall, it was an amazing adventure. The longest train was the California Zephyr, which travels between Chicago and San Francisco; it was a superb ride. It offered a smattering of everything U.S has to offer. It crosses the stunning Sierra Nevada range, climbs through the heart of the Rockies, and chugs across the plains of Nebraska. If you're planning on taking this trip be sure to spend time in the sightseeing Lounge. It's a glass walled compartment on the upper level that gets you first class access to the scenery. Met a lot of amazing people along the way, and it was the first time I cared less about the destination, but more about the journey. And if you’re wondering, I caught a flight back to NYC two hours after arriving in San Francisco :). See below for more images.