Last week I had a conference in Milwaukee to attend. Things had been a little hectic leading up to it and, come Thursday evening, I suddenly realized I hadn’t bought a plane ticket. Oy! Two days before you’re supposed to leave isn’t the best time to realize you still need transportation, because that $325 ticket two months ago has more than doubled in price. No dice. I could drive, but the thought of an 11+ hour drive just felt exhausting — if not on the way there, definitely on the way back. Trying to decide between the lesser of two evils, I suddenly realized there was a third option: Amtrak. With a station only 30 minutes away, I found I could book a three-leg round trip for the same price of that original plane ticket I never got around to buying. A 20 hour trip with a couple 2 – 3 hr layovers is longer than I usually like to travel, but the price was right and I was ready for an adventure. All aboard!

Let me tell you, that train ride was fabulous. On my way there I worked on my presentation, read a book, and knit — and on the way back? I knit and knit and knit some more. I was able to finish two projects completely, and get the third one almost to completion. What a glorious feeling! The trip was incredibly relaxing — I was out of the office, out of the house, couldn’t do anything for anyone except for me. (Hooray!) I had plenty of legroom, a comfortable seat, a huge window to took out, a reading light that actually could be aimed where I needed it, a table that moved where I wanted it; and, the trifecta of a tech geek: wifi, plugs, and coffee. Yessssssssss. So much more comfortable than a packed flight, and I could get up, move around, have food in the dining car, work in the lounge car, or sit in my seat, almost fully reclined, with headphones in my ears and a movie on the laptop. Pure heaven.

I gotta say, I’m so impressed with Amtrak. You’d be surprised how many people take the train cross country, and I can see why. It might take longer than air, but it’s a helluva lot more relaxing, and definitely easier on theĀ  psyche. I’m reinvigorated by the thought of how many places I can get to just with a 30 minute drive from my home. It seems to me that, with gas at these prices, any trips in a 6 hour radius is really better left to Amtrak.

Training couldn’t get any easier.