Monday, November 5, 2012

Tickets to Georgia

Georgia, made by my Atlanta-native roomie, Jessica
I hold in my hands two One-Way Amtrak tickets to Atlanta, Georgia. Well, I'm not holding them in my hands in the literal sense, only the figurative. As a result of technology, we don't get paper tickets anymore. Those tickets are actually sitting in my email. So the only way I could truly say that I was holding those tickets in my hands would be to lift this gigantic Mac up off the desk.

I HOLD IN MY HANDS TWO ONE-WAY AMTRAK TICKETS TO ATLANTA GEORGIA.

It feels infinitely more real now that the tickets have been purchased. One way, please. Oh, round trip? No thanks. I'll walk.

We'll be in Maine right before we leave, putting the last of our things into storage in our storage unit up there. It also feels very satisfying to start the journey very close to where we will end it. Then it does feel like a "round" trip, the way that a donut is round. A very squashed donut.

Our train leaves at 8:15am on March 5th, 2013 from Boston South Station and arrives in Atlanta Georgia at 8:15am on March 6th. It's not a straight shot, as we'll have to get a ride into Boston, and then we also have a 2-hour layover in NYC. I think it will be very odd to see NYC one last time before our journey in this way. I like to imagine that we would stroll out of Penn Station, wander over to get some bagels, and stare up at the tall buildings like the sheltering, iron giants that we no longer need.

Except, if I'm to be honest with myself, an Amtrak "layover" usually consists of the arriving train pulling into the station incredibly late, which will mean that our last foray into NYC will consist of us sprinting across Penn Station with our gear, yelling desperately, "HOLD THE TRAIN! HOLD THE TRAIN!" It'll be just like how it always was.

Romantique!

We decided to take the train because the other options were a bus or an airplane. Starting our journey with a 3-day bus trip would undoubtedly be a gold mine for painful yet hilarious anecdotes. But even I have an upper limit of discomfort I will endure for a good story, and due to the fact that buses make me violently ill, it just doesn't seem worth it. Taking an airplane was briefly considered, until we realized the sort of contraband-type materials we will have in our packs (e.g., propane and food), and how silly it would be to have our gear confiscated before it even had a chance to get dragged away in the woods by mice and/or bears.

I also have a special place in my heart for trains, as I took a solo month-long train journey around the country as a newly high school graduated 18 year-old. At the time Amtrak had a deal for one ticket that was good for an entire month, and you could use it all over the United States and Canada. I took a tiny backpack, put on hiking boots, and cavorted all over the country, staying in hostels. I didn't bring any music-playing device, only books. I had no cell phone at the time, and a terrible habit of not calling home to ensure my parents of my safety. This came to a head when I was in California when I called home to inform my family that I was going skydiving, and that I would call again when I landed so that they would know I was alive. Of course, I completely forgot, and didn't call until 2 days later. That was 8 years ago, and I like to think that I have grown at least a little bit. I'm about half an inch taller, so there's that.

Jessica, my confidant and roommate, is from Atlanta. Her fantastic parents, John and Connie, have offered to pick us up from the train station and set us on our way at Amicalola Falls.

From today, we have exactly four months before we leave for Georgia.

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