America: Day 49 – The beginning of the end

Last night I started my 48-hour train ride back to New England. I have three-hour layovers in both Chicago (today) and DC (tomorrow). My trip has been exciting and a fantastic experience, but I miss home a lot and it will be great to return there. Today I’m writing the first post-trip evaluation post: what I should have brought with me on the trip, and what I shouldn’t have!

Things I brought but didn’t use:

  • So many books. I didn’t read nearly as much as I anticipated, and thus I lugged three books which I never opened all around the country.
  • Rain pants. Great idea in theory, but bad in practice, because they were too cumbersome to put on when it rained, and insufficient for warmth.
  • Map moleskine. I used this moleskine to learn my way around Boston and to have a reference for the New York and Philly subway systems, but my compulsion to only have superior maps in it made it difficult to add to on my trip. Also, limited access to printers makes this more difficult.
  • All the crap in my wallet. My wallet was full of gift cards and membership cards and the like until just a couple days ago. It was pretty bulky. Now it’s not anymore, and it’s wonderful.

And that’s it. I packed very efficiently overall. Now here are some things I wish I had brought, but ended up buying or going without (to my detriment).

Things I wanted but didn’t have:

  • Cool weather clothes. The Pacific Northwest and northern Idaho and San Francisco are all colder in the summer than I anticipated. A good long-sleeve shirt and long pants necessarily entered my wardrobe.
  • Envelopes & stamps. Postcards and letters are difficult without them.
  • More food, more water. Or at least the capacity to carry these with me. As previously mentioned, Amtrak food is expensive, and it’s good to have the kind of stuff you want when you want it on the train. Also, having my own comestibles would help when staying with hosts who have difficult food rules.

Otherwise, my packing seemed to be pretty optimal! I’ll keep these things in mind for my next trip.

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