It was 80 degrees in Sacramento as I stepped onto the platform. The warmth replenished me like water filling a coffee-maker.
This journey took me from grey, crumbling northeastern cities through frigid cornfields, jutting mountains, sun-soaked canyons, and meandering rivers. Yet what I remember most is sweltering heat on an ugly platform in Sacramento. It felt like home, but just as I began to enjoy it they called “All aboard!”.
The train continued through California’s interior, a pastoral land dotted with orange trees and green fields showering in the sunlight beneath watchful hills. This land, just miles from unthinkable affluence, represents a hard way of life. Migrant workers rise early each morning to toil in pursuit of a better life.
We kept moving until we crossed the massive bridge network connecting the wide swath of Bay communities. The skyline was a mere silhouette, obscured by a thick, smoggy mist. The realities of getting from place to place began to wash over me as I furiously checked my phone to map my route into my brother’s Mountain View apartment. The luxuries of the train ride were suddenly apparent. Time, movement, and direction are all decided for you. All you have to do is sit and exist.
The trip was an opportunity for reflection. I read and wrote furiously. Most importantly, and all successful trips do this, I’ve renewed my commitment to adventure. I’ve reaffirmed my belief that time spent searching for truth and knowledge amidst the backdrop of a beautiful, shifting sense of place is worthwhile.