My Next Project

While crossing the Great Plains this past winter on Amtrak’s Empire Builder, on my way from hometown Portland back to Wisconsin, as I sunk into the time-suspending pace of railroad travel and screaming snowstorms lashed the prairies, a fleeting thought surfaced – how feasible is it to travel the North American continent by anything other than an airplane or car?

Apparently the thought stuck, because that seed has germinated into a full-fledged desire to do just that. For this Portlander uprooted to the Midwest, where choosing to forsake a drivers license and use alternate means of transportation is seen as borderline crazy, the challenge is just too delicious to shelve. So suddenly I find myself pouring over maps, train routes, and national parks to see what and where is actually possible to reach by train, bus, bike, or foot.

So begins the 2015 project of mine to travel the Americas without using an airplane or car, using public transit whenever possible. The only pieces set in stone this early in the planning are the Women’s World Cup in Vancouver and Glacier National Park and the required visit home to Portland. Other ideas are percolating – crossing the vastness of Canada by train, with stops in mountain towns like Jasper, and attempting to visit as many US and Canadian national parks as possible.

This is a huge project, overwhelming in scope, but the last time I was this excited for something, I was backpacking from sheep farm to sheep farm in Greenland. If I can accomplish that, I can definitely face this challenge.

More details to come….

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About chronictraveler

Chronic Traveler starts as a dream, one that I thought I had lost, but that has slowly changed into a mission to realize and live that dream every day. In December 2007 I became seriously ill and the doctors did not know what was causing my illness. I had to stop teaching as my life tumbled into a never-ending nightmare of doctors, hospitals and tests. Finally, in May 2008 I was diagnosed with a chronic condition - fibromyalgia. I was only 26 years old at the time. I have had to give up teaching, and now work part-time at a performing arts center as I learn how to manage my condition and improve my quality of life. What helped me through the months of uncertainty and sickness, and continues to inspire me, was a new focus on what truly mattered to me: family, friends, gardening, the arts, and especially travel. I have always fed my soul by traveling, ever since I first stepped off the plane at age 16 in Kathmandu, Nepal to help with an orphanage's building project. Meeting new people and experiencing how they live and how they view the world infuses my life with a richness I was so afraid I would lose when the doctor first said, "You have fibromyalgia". This blog is my story, as I begin to forge a new path. I am embracing my life as it is, with the fibromyalgia pain and fatigue, and learning to do what I love regardless. It may mean I have to go slower and take more naps or breaks! But I am determined to learn how to travel and experience the world, and hopefully what I learn will help others like me who believe their medical condition stands in the way of their travel dreams.
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