Currently I am sitting on an Amtrak train, in the middle-of-nowhere Arizona. I am sitting next to one of my best friends, Rebekah. It is dark outside our window, and our train will travel all night until we reach LA at around 5:45 am. Then we will transfer to a train to San Diego, our first stop of many. We are taking a 30 day, cross country train trip, stopping in San Diego, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Gold Beach, OR, Seattle, West Glacier, Montana, Chicago and Holland, Michigan.
Many people keep asking us where we got this idea, and it funny how it started. It was about two years ago when the idea first came up. We both love traveling and we were talking about doing a senior trip when I graduated high school. It was just a little idea that we tossed back and forth for a while, and we finally decided we should to a west coast road trip. A little bit later, we realized that neither of us have a car, and we are too young to rent a car so that idea would not work out so well. We started trying to come up with another mode of transportation, looking into bus, plane and train. We finally settled on train, as I had traveled that way before and loved it. And so the plans began. About a year ago I visted her in South Carolina, where we planned out every stop, how long we would spend there, and budgeted out the money. We wrote it all down on two pieces of paper, which we both lost :/ Earlier this spring, when we were starting to talk about making this dream a reality, we realized that since I would already be in Tucson for the camping trip, we should just reverse our order (originally we were starting in Chicago and ending in Tucson.) Then we planned it all out again, and I booked the train tickets! We are using a website called Couchsurfers.org for most of our lodging, and I will tell you more about that later.
We have a few goals with this trip. The first one is to be flexible. We have not planned out every day before hand (and this is hard for Type A me!) and though we have a list of things to do, in most cities we are asking the local people we are staying with for recommendations on what to do.
Our second goal is to be like a local. We are taking public transportation, staying with people that live here (except in LA) and going to a lot of places tourists wouldn't. Most of this we are able to do because of a website called Couchsurfers. It is a site designed for people who literally can surf on other people's couches for a night or two. Most of the people who have their couches listed are just people who love to share the culture of their local town with vistiors!
Our third goal was to serve the city we are staying in. We will be volunteering in some type of homeless shelter in every city. This kind of ties into our last goal, as by serving the local needy people, we can probably get a good feel for the city.
And of course our over-all goal is to serve God in any way He presents and let Him lead this trip!
For now I am going to curl up, and hope to get a good night’s sleep in these train seats!. Lots more to come!
Waiting for our first every train!
On the train.
Curled up reading books and writing.
My last view of Tucson, AZ!
She decided to take a picture while I was stuck.
Waiting for our train to San Diego.
Breakfast on the train.