In the mid-1980s I took Amtrak from Vermont to California and back, riding and sleeping in Coach. My food on the east-west route, via the southern US, consisted of a box of crunchy bran cereal, an imported Hungarian salami, and a block of cheese. On the return trip, via the northern states, I brought essentially the same items. The experience was life-changing in the best of ways. I read, talked with fellow passengers, and watched my world go by. It was, in total, a ten-day meditation, a time of rest, relaxation, discovery, and utter escape. Bonus: sharing a seat with an elderly cowboy who first told me about his abduction by aliens and then, as he disembarked in Denver, gave me a stock tip that, had I acted upon it, would have made me impossibly rich.