“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
It's been almost two years since I blogged about my ambition to travel around America by train. At the time I hoped that 2014 would be the year I achieved that dream, but general life and the unexpected opportunity to visit Berlin over the holidays and then Rio later in the year meant plans had to be put on hold. Maybe it was just as well, because in the interim I have found a willing travel companion - my sister, who will come over from England this spring and accompany me on this great adventure.
The trip will take us south from New York to Jacksonville in Florida, west to Los Angeles, north to Seattle and then east via Glacier National Park and Chicago back to New York. It's about as close to going around the country as you can get by Amtrak although I appreciate that it misses off most of Florida, Southern California and New England and also requires us to drive from Jacksonville to New Orleans as the train service between the two cities has not been in operation since Hurricane Katrina.
I've spent every spare moment over the last couple of weeks pouring over Amtrak timetables and hotel websites to create a plan for the trip. Fortunately for me, the planning is almost as much fun as the trip itself as there are still plenty of arrangements to be made. Beats watching the television.
Thoughts of magnificent scenery, vibrant cities, and the opportunity to see family and friends and meet new people all fuel the excitement, not to mention the hope that I will find plenty of inspiration for future novels. I already have a seed of an idea for my next mystery. Maybe I'll write the first draft while I'm traveling.
In all the trip will take 36 days, cross 25 states, include 14 stop-overs and involve an estimated 8,000 miles of travel. Put like that, it sounds crazy - crazy exciting.
How about you? Would this kind of trip be a dream or a nightmare?
If you have any recommendations of places to visit along the way, I'd love to hear them.