Today I embark on a new journey, one that will see me traversing half the United States at a slower pace, by foot, bus, and train, from the bustling streets of Chicago through the dusty forgotten towns of the Southwest, the natural awesomeness of a dozen National Parks, and the coastal riches of the West Coast. By June I will land in Vancouver, BC for the Women’s World Cup, a month-long celebration to end the odyssey begun three months before.
The primary goal of this trip is simple – to see how much of the United States I can visit by public transportation alone – no car, no airplane flights. Just one backpack, my own two feet, and a hodgepodge network of buses, trains, and bike rentals. When I began researching the possibilities a year ago, this goal seemed impossible without heading east. I considered the easy option, the road more traveled, a dense eastern coast tightly woven with train and bus lines. But I am from Oregon and the open road and trails of the West are embedded deep within my bones.
So I will head west, towards the setting sun and my scattered family and the natural wonders of mountain and sea that drew my ancestors before me.
And it begins by lacing up my hiking boots, slinging my pack over my shoulder, and walking the two blocks to my local Appleton, Wisconsin bus stop. I’ll try to post stories, impressions, thoughts, and pitfalls along the way.