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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