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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Amtrak's Still-Evolving Writers Residency

I don't know about you but I feel particularly inspired to write when I'm moving - whether it's on a plane, a cruise or a car (in fact, especially when I'm driving in my car, when it seems hardest to write).

But also on a train.

I had the interesting lucky experience of traveling by train from Albany, NY to Denver, CO in July 2007. For those wondering, that is a total of 79 hours on a train. Yes, I counted. Well, 78.5 if you wanna be specific, but I think I earned the right to round up.

Specifically, I had the interesting lucky experience of taking this trip with my family. You see, my dad loves trains and he had always wanted to do a long train trip. So, I went with my two sisters, my brother, and my dad.

(Above: my sister Laura, Right: my sister Jamie)

Since my dad was paying - and the sleeper cars only sleep two people each - I said I would rough it like I did on my Eurail trip.

We took the train from Albany to NYC, then the Lake Shore Limited from NYC to Chicago, and the California Zephyr from Chicago to Denver.

Did everything work out well? Yes. Did we make it to Colorado and back in one piece? Yes. Did I go insane and feel like Jack from The Shining by time we made it to the Rockies? Ahhh, a little. Yep.

Once there, though, I did get to meet my little cousin for the first time and I went on one of my favorite hikes to date at Conundrum Hot Springs.

(My cousin Gage)

Still, I think my exact words when we made it back to Albany after the 79 hours were: "I am never going on a long train trip again."

 (Left: Pikes Peak, Right: my hike with my sister Jamie and brother Adam at Conundrum Hot Springs)

Well, this may be kinda like a pregnancy when right afterwards you say you're never having kids again...and then you do. Or right after a long night of drinking when during your hangover you say you're never touching the stuff again...and then you do.

I'm kinda thinking I might want to do another long train trip.

And, as it happens, Amtrak is now doing what they're calling a "writers residency". The program is still in its infancy so many details are being worked out but they are asking aspiring rail writers to use #AmtrakResidency on Twitter.

Their first one was for a writer who went from NYC to Chicago and back. And I just read that they approved another for someone to go from NYC to Portland.

Well, I've done the cross-country trip via car and that was a good time. But I'm thinking a west coast train trip might be fun, maybe in California.

(Above: my dad, Laura, Jamie and Adam)

And, non-Amtrak related, I eventually want to go across Canada and I hear the train might be a fun way of doing that as well. I think my dad wants to do that trip too, actually. Maybe, this time, I'll pay.


Blogger Crystal said...

I would love to do a train trip with you. We survived over a week on the road together so I think we could handle this.

April 16, 2014 at 8:17 AM 

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