Westward Bound: Vincent Carabeo’s Cross Country Travels
We sat down with Vincent Carabeo who took a cross country #AmtrakAdventure on the Empire Builder to move from NYC to San Fran. Vacation starts as soon as you step onto the train, and it can also be the easiest, most enjoyable way to move cross country. Read on for a real rider’s take on the magic of train travel.
Amtrak: What made you decide to take a trip with us?
Vincent: I’ve been going back and forth about leaving NYC and moving to Seattle. I love the city life but after living in San Francisco for six years and living in NYC for about a year, I suddenly had this desire to slow it down a little. I wanted to relocate. So I figured why not give the Pacific North West a shot. I knew it was going to be a drastic change, especially from NYC, so I wanted to take my time getting there. A good friend of mine mentioned moving from NYC to San Francisco by train, so I looked into it and decided that this was exactly the trip I needed.
Which routes did you choose and why?
I bought a one-way cross-country ticket from NYC to Seattle. The first leg of the trip was about 26 hours from NYC to Chicago by The Cardinal. Then I had about a 4-hour layover before I got on the Empire Builder. Altogether this was 3 days of traveling.
What was unique about train travel?
The space, the people, the scenery, I could go on! If I had the time and money, I’d constantly travel by train. There’s something special about being able to relax, enjoy conversations with strangers, and just hanging out at the observation deck as you pass through some of the most beautiful scenery (during sunrise and sunset). Incredible.
Which Amtrak features did you particularly enjoy?
I absolutely enjoyed being able to get away from my seat and just hang out at the observation deck. If anything this welcomed passengers to meet one another. Being on the train for about 3 days and crossing paths with folks from all over was such a unique and unforgettable experience.
Do you have any tips for others considering a long distance Amtrak trip?
If you’re able to, purchase tickets that includes your own personal room, maybe a bathroom, and meals. It’ll make this long trip even more comfortable. If you’re on a budget, purchase a coach seat. I’d highly recommend bringing some body wipes, snacks, a pillow and blanket. The rest, you’ll just have to experience for yourself. But the most important one is to be open-minded. There are a lot of people getting on and off the train. You’ll even meet some folks that are going to the same destination as you. Hang out at the observation deck and strike a conversation with anyone. It make’s time go by a lot faster and it make’s your trip that much more memorable. I met folks who were from the same city as me (Honolulu, Hawaii), some with unique stories, and others who I really related to. It made this entire trip that much more memorable.
Inspired? Book your own and retrace Vincent’s ride along the Empire Builder for breath-taking sights along the way like Glacier National Park, Whitefish, and Mt. Olympia. All aboard! ☀️