Story by Zoe Morrison, October 2019

On August 10, 2019 I picked up my life and set off on a big adventure, having left one of my part-time gigs in Portland. I was ready to begin a journey that would take me far and wide across the United States.

My route was somewhat circuitous, from Portland Oregon I made these stops along the way: Chicago and Evanston Illinois. Holland Michigan. East Lansing Michigan, Port Huron Michigan, New York New York, Orlando Florida, Washington DC, New Orleans Louisiana, Los Angeles California, and then back again on the Coast Starlight to Portland.

Altogether I was gone for five weeks, ending my trip with a housesitting obligation.

I made this trip solo, the majority of it booked using an Amtrak US RAILPASS. For reference, the RAILPASS I purchased was for 15 days and allowed me to travel to most of my destinations  for the price of $469.00. My excursion was definitely budget.

Sleep? All of my travel was coach which meant that I slept in my seat in the evenings during the entire journey. I arranged to couchsurf with friends who were generous enough to offer me a bed for a night or two during pre-planned stops. I  booked  three lodging stops through Airbnb in Port Huron, DC and NOLA.

Some of my stops were very short. One dear friend travelled to West Michigan, picking me up so we could spend six hours together rather than the scheduled hour and a half that my trip had allowed.

I rented a car when in the Metro Detroit area though mostly I walked or took local public transportation to points of interest.

Were there challenges along the way? Yes there were some. Technically I was en-route working on the newsletter for the Senior Center for September. The problem came with not having a Wi-Fi connection during the travel. (Only some Amtrak long-distance trains have Wi-Fi).

Amtrak is notorious for delays, so some evenings I arrived late to my destinations. For the most part, I had taken “amtrak-time’ into consideration when planning my adventure.

And of course, there are those pesky hurricanes. I was visiting my mom south of Orlando Florida when hurricane Dorian was projected to make landfall the following day. Amtrak called to cancel my travel  for the following day so I had to scramble to get out of town a day sooner than expected which really was a disappointment.

Zoe Morrison take an Amtrak Journey around the US in September of 2019Overall, it was a great trip. I saw friends I hadn’t seen in more than 35 years. I travelled to several places I have never been, particularly DC and New Orleans. And I caught up with estranged maternal relatives I hadn’t spent any time with my entire life up until this trip. Exciting stuff!

This trip was a relaxing way to shake off cares for a few weeks. I’m back at it again, working on your newsletter & growing my business.

If you’d like to talk more about jumping on board Amtrak, I’d be happy to tell you about my journey.

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