I had been curious about taking the Amtrak for a while now, since it connects NYC to Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. all within a few hours of each other. So on Wednesday morning I booked a ticket to depart that afternoon and return the next morning (today.)
I’m writing this from the coach class seat of the Amtrak train. It is 8:30 AM, and I missed my original train which left at 7:05 AM. To be honest, the real original train was scheduled to leave at 11 AM, but when I arrived last night and checked in to my small, practically window-less hotel room, I got hit with about of anxiety and homesickness. At least it was nice to get homesick for New York and not Austin, for a change. I rushed back to the Union Station ticketing booth, thankful for my mask which hid my distraught expression, and asked the man if he could change my ticket to the earliest possible departure.
Of course, had I simply taken the time to settle in (as much as one night can settle anyone in, anywhere,) I would have been glad to leave at 11 AM as originally planned.
C’est la vie.
Anyone who has felt that debilitating feeling, knows that it’s pointless to regret the actions taken when under the blanket of a panic attack. Sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason, and so trying to make sense of it just induces more ugly feelings like guilt or unworthiness.
I will say this – it was (is) my first round trip on the Amtrak and I am definitely doing it again.
I love traveling – everything about it – even the homesick pangs and the panic attacks which sometimes descend upon my unsuspecting self. I feel like travel, especially solo travel, helps me grow my self-confidence and teaches me to trust in my own capabilities.
Also, traveling strengthens my faith in the goodness of humanity. Traveling alone especially, one must rely on the goodness of strangers. I am accustomed to such a worldview, but going somewhere new and in a new way, brightens my outlook even more.
I was feeling vulnerable when I changed my ticket last night, and again when I had to change my ticket today after missing this morning’s train. But each time, the ticket agents were kind and helpful.
I didn’t allow myself much time to visit the sights of D.C., but I did get to see some dear friends who also moved up North from the great state of Texas. Leaving them anonymous for privacy, it warmed my heart more than I can say to enjoy a meal and a drink with these two people. The last time we were all together, the three of us, was over two years ago. It’s amazing to think about all that has changed!
I have definitely changed, in many ways, and yet there is that core part of a person’s personality that makes them inherently unique. It is comforting to be reminded of that part of myself, and to recognize it in others.
I still would like to see the Lincoln Memorial and the White House, as well as explore more of the very hip and trendy Adams Morgan District. I learned, feeling somewhat foolish, that the National Capitol Building is definitely different from the White House. I was sure they were one and the same – oops!
I’ve still got another two and a half hours aboard this train. Everyone is masked up and sitting far apart from each other, so conversing with strangers, a favorite pastime of mine, is out of the question.
Luckily I have my Kindle to keep me company – a treasure trove of books and games. And if that gets boring, I can look out the windows. We are now pulling up to Baltimore Penn Station, according to the (very loud) conductor’s announcement.
Until next time,