Book Tour By Amtrak: Washington, D.C. to Atlanta

Hey guys, it’s Maddie again. When I last wrote about the APW book tour by Amtrak, I was riding a pretty serious First Class high. After having flown from San Jose to NYC by myself and then hauling myself to and from Brooklyn, I was ready to bask in the glow of free champagne and begin the part of the tour that would undoubtedly be The Glamorous Part.

And then we arrived in D.C. We had just enough time to change into something that didn’t look obviously traveled in, grab a quick bite to eat, and hop a cab to the D.C. book talk. Now, I don’t know how to describe this exactly, because it seems like such a mellow event, but when it was over I was beat. I kept turning to Meg and saying, “I feel exactly the way I feel after I photograph a wedding!” Except that when a wedding is over, I usually get to go home, upload my photos and crawl on the couch while my husband and I eat Mac ‘n Cheese and watch reruns of Firefly, and on book tour you go home and work (uploading event photos, prepping the week’s blog posts, and finalizing agendas for the next day).

And guys, I wasn’t even the one talking (I mean, I schmoozed, but that’s like breathing for me). Meg talks, answers questions for an hour and then signs books for another hour (the hand cramp alone…). And then, schedules permitting, she goes and PARTIES with you guys. She does it in heels, she does it with a smile, and the thing is, she does it over and over again city by city. She’s done it three times so far this week.

And the thing that’s boggling my mind right now is that we are doing this again tomorrow. Now, don’t get me wrong. We had a lovely day off in D.C. where Liz (who had met up with us in Philly) and I explored the Smithsonian Museums while Meg worked in the cafe until it was time to see the Ruby Slippers. We even got to take a tour of the NPR studios and eat an actual sit down meal at Chipotle.

But the rest of the time, it’s been work. We salvage every minute of internet connection we can get, sleep whenever possible, and spend a fair amount of time pumping each other up before the next event.

Having done two back-to-back events, I now understand why Meg likes Amtrak so much. It’s not the champagne, or the interesting dinner conversation, or even the novelty of saying you’re traveling by train. It’s that the train is the one place where Meg gets to rest. On the train, down-time is mandatory, and you have a personal porter who comes by every once in a while to make sure that you’re taken care of and to remind you that you really should eat dinner. On the road, it’s so easy to convince yourself that there is enough time to write one more post, or respond to one more e-mail, even when you’re dead on your feet. But the train reminds you that taking care of yourself is a priority too.

So far, the book tour is an incredible adventure. I am super grateful to Meg that I’ve been invited to join her for these events, and I’m even more grateful to all the amazing people who are making our stay comfortable. (Meg’s stories about Amtrak are all true. Our porter on the train from D.C. to Atlanta was this incredible woman who didn’t bat an eyelash when telling us about the baby she’d delivered on the train earlier that week and who pretty much ensured we would have the best time when we get New Orleans. And I’m not exaggerating; her favorite restaurant printed special menus for her so that she can hand them out on trains.) Even more so, I’m grateful to the people who are coming out to these events, waiting patiently in line, and supporting us as we write about the trip. Because even though I’m practically falling asleep as I write this, joining the huge crowds that have traveled God-kn0ws-how-far to see Meg and support this effort makes it totally worth it. It’s not exactly The Glamorous Part I was expecting, but still, it’s good. Really, really good.

Pictures from Instagram, where Meg is documenting the trip. Follow her on Twitter for more.

**This post was made possible by Amtrak, who is sponsoring the book tour. Thank you Amtrak!**

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  • Your hustle has inspired me to work a little later tonight, even though I know I’ll be tired. This is the best book tour of all time. This tour ITSELF should be a book.

  • hearts and flowers! thanks so much for stopping in DC, too bad the afterparty didn’t really work out the way we envisioned… next time! hope you guys get some good rest before Atlanta.

    and YAY AMTRAK!

  • carrie

    Well, you LOOK fabulous and glamorous. Wait, that’s not the same thing? ;-) So many thanks to all that you all do and it was great to see, meet, talk to you awesome ladies in DC.

  • k

    Oh yeah. I took my first Amtrak trip since the 1980s right after Christmas this year and instead of fighting my way up I-5 in crappy traffic for six hours, I got to sit down, read, stare out the window, study Spanish, and decompress after spending five days trying to get six months’ worth of projects done for my elderly parents. It was a dream.

  • Maddie – you’re adorable. That is all. x

    • Emily Rae

      Yes, that stripy sweater dress rocks!

    • I can’t “exactly” from my phone so I’ll just have to say here (darn ;)) — yes, completely adorable!

      (Also: a tour of the NPR studios? Jealous!)

    • Jen

      I just jumped over here to the comments section to say that exact same thing – Maddie, you are GORGEOUS! That smaile!

  • CAMinSD

    “On the train, down-time is mandatory … ”

    Yes! Being a pretty typical contemporary American, I don’t have a ton of train travel experience. Then, two summers ago, we went to Italy and took so. many. trains. At the time, it seemed like an extra expense and a drain on our time (though it was a beautiful way to see the country). I did not realize that it was actually a *gift* of time until we vacationed this summer in just one city. Without the respite of a long train ride every few days, I felt constantly guilty for sleeping away whole afternoons In One of the Greatest Cities in the Modern World, rather than taking the place by storm 24 hours a day according to my theoretical itinerary.

    Adventures are fueled by, among other things, rest!

  • You guys are amazing, keeping everything running so seamlessly while half(?) of you are travelling cross-country by train. Much respect.

    Also, good investment, Amtrak. I don’t even live in America and I have major cross-America-by-train wanderlust now. Oof.

    • I’m super jealous of this trip and everyone who gets to go to the book talks- I just moved from New York to the UK this year and I keep thinking how easy it would be to get to any of these cities from my parents’ house.

      • Aine, that is some tough luck right there. I feel for you.

  • Jacque

    I’m reading this post while on Amtrack (with my trusty APW book next to me) on my way to apartment hunt in NYC, and I totally get what you mean. Its been almost a mandatory zen and I so needed it! Keep up alllllll the amazing work ladies, you guys are fantastic.

  • LIndsey M

    Wait, is the book tour coming to New Orleans? I would be so excited!!!

    • Kelly

      Lindsey, I have been LOOKING for fellow New Orleanian readers on here forever!! My understanding is Meg and Maddie will be in NOLA for a weekend passing through (not sure when exactly), and although they don’t have any official book tour stop planned, Meg mentioned in another comment she could maybe be persuaded to do a small gathering. I’d LOVE to do something along those lines – would you be up for it? Maybe we could talk them into a small gathering and just buy them a drink or two somewhere, or grab a bite to eat.. Either way, we should meet up sometime! Maybe for the next book club meetup.

      • LIndsey M


        I didn’t think there were any other New Orleans readers! Let’s definitely meet up sometime, and maybe we can start the first ever New Orleans book club.

        • Kelly

          Sounds good Lindsey! I’ll look for you on the next Facebook bookclub meetup page thingey. :)

    • meg

      Nope. We’re going for other Amtrak-y reasons. We have very few readers in NOLA, weirdly, and I desperately need a weekend off with no events. So, we’re just going to be sleeping and eating and seeing music and going to Krewe du Vieux.

      • Kelly

        Hope you guys have a blast – Krewe du Vieux is always a good time. Enjoy!

  • MDBethann

    Thank you again for a great stop in DC. It was great to finally see and hear you ladies in person and put faces to the women running this awesome site. Thank you so much and enjoy NOLA! I don’t know if it’s the best place in town or not, but there is a yummy place off of Jackson Square called Cafe Pontalba – traditional cuisine and if you’re lucky, like my co-workers and I were, there will be a group of street musicians playing on the square while you dine. One of the coolest lunches I’ve ever had.

  • Lturtle

    I just want to say that I find you ladies seriously inspiring. The whole site is of course, but the book and book tour posts especially. I gave up writing when my daughter was born, but I think I am going to start again now. So thank you for that.

  • Claire

    So excited to meet you ladies tomorrow! I planned this business trip from Minneapolis to Atlanta specifically for it. Win win.

  • Class of 1980

    Get to bed! Now! ;)

  • Laurel

    Two things:
    1) I love Firefly! Yes!
    2) Because of the APW Book Tour I’m trying to convince my husband to take Amtrak when he goes to Kirkwood to compete in the Freeski World Tour in April.

  • kayakgirl73

    Thanks for making a stop in DC. I’ve the book talk. Great evening even if I did have a small mishap with my car in the parking garage. Stupid weird jutting out wall, at least it’s just a scrap on plastic and I didn’t hit anybody or anybody else’s car and heck the wall was even still white not blue.

    • you were at the book talk?? I don’t think I met you but I wanted to!

      • kayakgirl73

        Yep. We didn’t get to meet. Maybe next time. I was in the second row on the edge near the bathroom in a brown sweater.