Fort Lauderdale, Florida to New York, New York


The bus arrives and we sit in plastic seats near the back. The bus lumbers slowly and stops frequently. We pull into a large parking lot by I-95. In the middle of the parking lot is the Fort Lauderdale Amtrak terminal.

The Silver Meteor leaves an hour earlier than the Silver Star, and we arrive in time to witness its arrival and departure. It will get to New York eight hours before we do. It costs sixty dollars more than the Silver Star. We are taking the Silver Star.

As the Silver Star starts to follow I-95 north up the east coast we leave our upholstered seats and adjourn to the club car where we sit across a plastic table from each other. The club car sells a slim, overpriced assortment of snacks, sandwiches and beer. Out the window we watch green fly by.

A woman from Key West wearing a black tee shirt that asks “Got ink?” is talking. The woman is talking to a man from Jamaica who says he is in America visiting family but never says where in America that family is. The woman is loud. Key West is awesome because people get totally naked. Her boyfriend is Mexican, and he’s a really big guy so people are afraid of him, bt the big guys are always the sweeties, you know? The man from Jamaica is a good listener because he is busy drinking.

The train stops. The train rolls backwards for a while. The steward must remind the woman from Key West and the man from Jamaica that as this is a family space loud cursing is not allowed. The train begins to go forward again, slowly. The train stops. The conductor’s voice says we will be moving shortly. Two policemen enter the club car. They take away the man from Jamaica. The car starts rolling slowly forward.

We put peanut butter on crackers and eat them at our seats. When it gets dark we are still in Florida. By the next morning we are in North Carolina.

We climb from Penn Station’s dank stomach to the street in worn sneakers and under giant backpacks. And then we are in New York.

We left as residents and return as tourists.

We are walking to Times Square to meet my sister. The signs are too familiar. Bag Man, Jack’s, the Manhattan Mall. In five minutes we have never left.



12 Comments on "Fort Lauderdale, Florida to New York, New York"

  1. The end of the epic round the world without a plane trip.

    I’ve never been too hot on the benefits of traveling, but I guess I should do more before saying that.

  2. How long, all told did the trip itself take?
    Also, any chance of putting this together in a book? I’d think it was a great read.

  3. It was a little over five months total. There is adamantly no book. If you take a trip and then write a book about it you’ve taken the trip to write the book. This trip was taken for no reason and it will stay that way.

  4. Two policemen enter the club car. They take away the man from Jamaica.

    Hah! The way you just throw this in alongside putting peanut butter on crackers, conveys your state of mind at the time wonderfully.

    We’ve been reading this for longer than your travel time, then! It’s been epic and good. Thank you.

  5. Again! Again! This time travel through the Southern Hemisphere instead of the Northern!

    I inquire as to how to go about purchasing tickets on those slow going freighters you started on?

  6. How to get on a freighter: here.

    The Southern Hemisphere has a great deal more water than the Northern Hemisphere does.

  7. Yes, I was being facetious. I can imagine how delightful the Southern Hemisphere would be considering your rendition of how traveling from CA to Japan went.

    Sorry I missed that link the first time through and thank you.

  8. every time i travel via mass transit form (plane, bus, train) i always sit next to the lady that speaks loudly and inappropriately. i’m glad i’m not alone in my fortune.

  9. If I ever go around the world for its own sake, I’ll make a point of visiting two antipodal, er, points. More precisely: I’ll make a map showing the antipodes of all the paths I’ve traveled, and make sure to cross my anti-path somewhere.

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