Margo Discovers America on Amtrak
We sat down with international jetsetter Margo Paige of The Overseas Escape to find out why after lots of airline miles logged, she prefers the scenic route with us. Check out her take on the magic of train travel below:
Amtrak: Was this your first Amtrak ride? If not, what other routes have you traveled on?
Margo: While I’ve ridden the rails extensively in Europe, this was my first stateside ride with Amtrak.
You took a trip from Charlottesville to New York City. How would you best describe the ride?
The ride offered so much more than just transportation to the Big Apple – it doubled as a conversation space for meeting other travelers and catching up with an old friend, a productive environment to get ahead on work, and, for my photography-loving heart, a fun place to capture the rolling countryside.
There are a lot of perks to train travel: the views, the legroom, the freedom to move around. What were some of your favorite Amtrak perks from the ride?
Starbucks is famed being the 3rd place beyond the home and work, and I found the Café Car created a similar conversation space. I ended up spending the majority of my 14 hours on board (~7 hours to/from New York) deep in conversation with other travelers, a friend that joined me on my journey, and even some friendly Amtrak conductors. With a shared destination, comfortable seating, and fresh hot coffee, passengers have can truly sit back and enjoy the ride.
As the voice behind Overseas Escape you travel all over the world. We’re curious, what were some of the differences you experienced between train travel and flying?
Despite all my experience with air travel (I once logged 75,000+ air miles in one year!), I still feel a certain level of anxiety surrounding the process. Arriving hours before departure, waiting in an endlessly snaking security line, crossing my fingers that I’ll make my connecting flight – it all amounts to a lot of uncertainty (and time). With rail travel, the expectations are easy and straightforward – instead of tipping toeing barefoot through security, I can just hop aboard and enjoy the journey.
Lots of Amtrak riders say that train time is your time. During the part of your trip when you were traveling solo, did you find that to be true? If so why?
I was delighted to be able to capitalize on the solo downtime on the rails by getting ahead on a ton of work. I never realized that the train would offer such a productive work environment! Perhaps the next time I’ve got a big project on my hands I’ll make an extra Amtrak trip just so I can get it done!
Do you have any advice to share with first time Amtrak riders?
For the new riders out there, prepare for the added time Amtrak offers travelers. It’s hard to envision when typically a journey entails anxiety-ridden gate changes or bumper-to-bumper traffic, but riding the rails is as efficient as it gets. So what would you do if you got a few extra hours in your day? Pack a great book, bring along a good friend, or download the latest This American Life podcast to prep for the relaxing journey.
For Amtrak blog readers on the fence about taking a trip, what would you tell them?
While it’s easy to drone on about the speed, efficiency and cost-effective nature of travel with Amtrak, I think the best value-add is that time on board isn’t lost, but instead becomes an enjoyable part of the experience. So much more than just a means for transit, traveling with Amtrak is a travel experience, in and of itself. With Amtrak your trip actually begins upon boarding, not arrival.
Inspired? Head to www.amtrak.com and book your trip to over 500 destinations. All aboard!