I left for my book tour today. I’m not going to lie to you. I was pretty emotional. We were late getting to the train, thanks to traffic (side note: a great thing about Amtrak is you can show up five minutes before the train leaves and just jump on) and I cried and then got on the train. A minute later, David was scrambling on behind me. The conductor had told him to go up and help me to my room. When he left, my porter (my porter!) came by to give me a tour of my room and asked, “You miss that guy already?” and I said, “I’m going to be gone for a month, and I’m sad.” And he nodded and said, “Understandable.”
Which is, I think, a sum up of why this trip is blowing my mind. When I had that panic attack at 30,000 feet, someone pointed out that part of the trouble with flying isn’t actually the flying, it’s how you can feel sort of dehumanized by the process. Amtrak has been the opposite experience. The train is slower, sure. But there are also a ton of real life people ready to help me out if I have a question. There are volunteers from the California State Railroad Museum giving us a history tour as we go. The sleeper cars all have a huge fold out pamphlet describing all the interesting things you’ll see. And when I went looking for paper towels (I have my own bathroom! And shower!) I realized instead they’d provided me with actual towels. What?!?
I feel like a person here. I feel like, maybe, in the rush to get on with things, we’ve all been missing something big. Because, sure, I’m not getting anywhere incredibly quickly, but with views like this, why on earth would I want to?
And yes. I miss my husband, already, a lot. Clearly he needs to take Amtrak with me, which I’m already plotting about. But there is something to be said for a marriage where you’re really sad to leave, but also know you’ve got to go, because spreading your wings is your job.
P.S. I just saw the first snow of the trip!
P.P.S. Coming up in future days: why I feel like I’m on the Hogwarts Express! Sleeping in a sleeper car! Drinking coffee in my private room in the frigid morning with the heat keeping me all toasty! Seeing America! And more! Stay tuned.
Pictures from Instagram, where I’m charting the trip. Follow me on Twitter for more. I’ll do a proper photo round up at some point, never fear.
**This post was made possible by Amtrak, who is sponsoring my book tour. Thank you Amtrak!**