At 13, a train took me to New Jersey see my grandparents when I didn't have another way to get there. At 27, Amtrak took me to my first cross country trip as an adult, seeing the ocean mere feet away as we weaved our way alongside the California coast - the waves so close I could almost reach them. My husband carried his backpack close to him that trip. Slept with it beneath our seat. Later, we would get engaged on a cliff overlooking the same ocean before the train took us home, nervous and excited to begin our lives. Years later, a train took me through a pass in the Colorado mountains. I peeked through my fingers at the city glittering beneath us, scared of the height yet overwhelmed by the beauty.
Trains surprised me too. Forced me out of my comfort zone. A delay of a day in Chicago where I ate gluten-free pizza and power walked the city, putting my feet in the ocean and seeing old friends. And in Los Angeles, where an unexpected detour took me to Venice and Manhattan Beach. To beautiful art museums beaming with multicolored lights. To jazz musicians and dolphin watching and stories everywhere I looked.
Not everyone is meant to fly. Although by flying, travel would instantly become that much easier and quicker, Amtrak has given me and hundreds of thousands of other people from all over the United States the ability to cross the country. To attend the weddings of dear friends and see the beauty of the national parks. To attend conferences in Vegas alongside my team and see the glittering lights appear as if a mirage in the desert. To venture out as a solo traveler and find the joy and discovery that comes from exploring a new city on your own. Train travel crosses political parties and all socioeconomic levels.
The national budget that is being proposed currently wants to remove funding for Amtrak, and thereby remove access to train travel for the majority of the United States. A MoveOn.org petition is being currently circulated to let the government know the importance of train travel, and how cutting this system from our nation would impact many. Please take a few seconds to sign this petition and share it with your friends and on Facebook. It would mean a lot.
"We, the undersigned, urge Congress to reject the proposed elimination of all long distance Amtrak passenger train service by the Trump administration. If enacted, hundreds of small communities across the US would lose their last means of low-cost public transportation to the outside world. "