Vagobond Travel Museum: The Amtrak Amtrek Across the USA

Back in 2008, I left Hawaii and set out on an adventure that took me across the USA by Amtrak train, I called it the Amtrek. This week, for the Vagobond Travel Museum, I bring you the collected articles and videos from that trip. The trip began in Honolulu and then went to Portland, Oregon from where I crossed the country and ended in New York City with a one way flight to Barcelona – the truth is, the trip has never ended since I’ve never gone home.

Along the way, I couch-surfed and asked my hosts the same set of questions, those videos are below and worth watching. Keep in mind, this was before couch-surfing had gone mainstream.

Here are the ten lessons I learned on that trip:

  1. The trains through the Rocky Mountains have the most incredible viewing cars for enjoying the magnificent landscape.
  2. Sacramento is a lot cooler than I thought it would be and the train museum is a must see..
  3. Utah is an incredibly rugged and scenic state filled with some very cool folks in Salt Lake City.
  4. I want to travel by train to Austin, Texas and Detroit, Nashville, and New Orleans. I’ve still never been to those cities.
  5. I love New York and Boston – taking a train to them was the way to go. People in these cities rock.
  6. Philly and Chicago are both incredibly cold in winter, but the people I met in them were pretty great.
  7. It’s better not to hurry, a 14 day rail pass was too short for a true American experience.
  8. Too many museums in too short a time can’t be appreciated – so get a longer rail pass.
  9. Libraries are havens of free wifi and peaceful places to work – trains should always have wifi and should have libraries for passengers.
  10. Making the wrong friend can suck out part of your enjoyment of life and destroy a train trip – the right friends can make a boring stretch very exciting.


Art at the Met and Thoughts Before Leaving the USA

Exploring Chicago in the Cold

The Host Videos
Couch Questions in Hawaii

Lost. ;(

Christmas in Portland

Couch Questions in Portland

Couch Questions with MJ in Sacramento

Couch Questions in Salt Lake City

Couch QUestions in Chicago

Couch Questions in Boston

Couch Questions in Providence

Couch Questions in New York City

Where To Go Vintage Shopping in Boston

You may think you know where to go in Boston, but do you know where to go vintage shopping in Boston? Read on!

Boston Downtown [ThinkStock - iStockphoto]

Vintage shopping is experiencing something of a renaissance at the moment, both in the UK and across the pond. So, if you’re planning your next shopping trip to the US, vintage stores should definitely be on your radar. Personally, my ideal destination is Boston, simply because as well as having great vintage outlets, it’s also got bags of culture, which means you can intersperse shopping trips with visits to historical attractions.

Below, I’ve listed some of what I think are the best places to shop vintage in Boston.

Poor Little Rich Girl

Where: 166 Newbury Street, Back Bay, Boston

Since the first Poor Little Rich Girl store was opened back in April 2002, it has established quite a following. In fact, there are now three stores to choose from in the Boston area, including Back Bay, Somerville and Cambridge.

What I like about Poor Little Rich Girl is that it’s got some noticeable differences from your average vintage clothing shop. For instance, it stocks some labels that you may well recognise, while it also has a boutique-esque feel. Another thing I like is the fact that it’s reasonably priced (well, who wouldn’t?), so you really feel like you’re getting value for money, as well as beautiful clothes and accessories.

where to go Boston Thinkstock Photodisk

Urban Renewals

Where: 122 Brighton Avenue, Allston

If you’re hoping to come across a few bargains, Urban Renewals is definitely the place to go. This warehouse-like shop is very basic in terms of its appearance, which of course goes some way to making it that little bit more wallet-friendly for patrons.

There’s a little bit of everything here, including men’s and women’s clothing, as well as a decent selection of homeware. In a space like this it’d be quite easy for things to be hard to find, but the staff do an excellent job of organisation, which means it’s actually nice and simple to locate what you’re looking for.

Bobby from Boston

Where: 19 Thayer Street, South End, Boston

Bobby from Boston is a wonderful little vintage store over on Thayer Street. Predominantly selling men’s clothes, it also stocks a small but well-chosen selection of women’s apparel. Its dark-wood interior is home to a large collection of men’s shoes, as well as bags and hats.

I think this store has a great atmosphere, being crowded as it is with great vintage items everywhere you look. And, despite the fact that the shop if definitely very full, it doesn’t look messy and disorganised – just interesting. In fact, there are so many tempting things all over the place that it’s difficult to know exactly where to look first!

Raspberry Beret

Where: 1704 Massachusetts Avenue, Porter Square, Cambridge

A fairly new addition to the vintage store circuit, Raspberry Beret is a great find. It gets new stock in virtually constantly, which means there’s always something new to browse, and its selection of dresses is particularly good.

This is also a brilliant place to come if you fancy finding yourself some new shoes or accessories, with many people claiming that these are what the store really shines for. Costume jewellery is a particular high point here, so if you’re into bold looks, you can’t go far wrong.

Boston’s Best Attractions Revealed (and all in one place)

Freedom Trail
I know. Vagobond readers love the quirky and offbeat side of travel, but let’s face it, a trip to Boston, Massachusetts would not be complete without a stop at some of the most popular tourist attractions in the area.

Whether you are visiting Boston on vacation or in the area for business, make the most out of your trip by enjoying the famous sights and sounds that the city has to offer.

From art museums and historical sights to baseball fields and delicious spots to eat, there’s a little something for everyone to enjoy in Boston. Choose to stay at a great hotel during your trip for a prime location to both tourist attractions and business opportunities. A luxurious landmark hotel provides guests with luxury and comfort right in the heart of the city and will have more than a few interesting secrets of its own.

Boston Symphony Orchestra

The Boston Symphony Orchestra is a must-see for those who enjoy musical performances. Take a seat in this beautiful architecturally designed facility and listen to the sounds of this world-famous symphony. The acoustics in the venue provide guests with an experience unlike any other. Hear music exactly the way that it should be heard whether you’re sitting in the front row or up above on the balcony. The Boston Symphony Orchestra brings something new to the table mixed with classical numbers that you are sure to recognize.

Boston Public Garden

Boston Old State HouseWhen looking for a beautiful place within Boston to relax, there’s no better spot than the Boston Public Garden. This tourist destination is completely free to experience. Walk through the park during the different seasons and see the leaves change from green to yellow and red. Trees line the entirety of the park and ducks swim in the pond. Hop aboard the famous Swam Boats that are located here and take a ride around the pond with a loved one.

Fenway Park

Any Red Sox fan will appreciate a stop at the Fenway Park baseball field. Come to the field during baseball season to enjoy a game against a visiting team or come to take a behind-the-scenes tour of the facility. Make your way into the locker room of the visiting team, walk through the dugout, take a stroll on the field and much more. Fenway Park is also the oldest Major League baseball park in the entire United States. Game tickets should be purchased early, as they can sell out quickly.

North End

Boston famous ship at the wharfThe North End is known as the oldest neighborhood in all of Boston. Known for its Italian background, this neighborhood is popular for its delicious restaurants and many historic landmarks. The streets are lined with cobblestone bricks and the architecture of the buildings around the area is simply stunning. Make a stop at Paul Revere’s former home and take a tour of the property. The Old North Church can also be found at the North End of Boston. Some popular restaurants in the area include Cantina Italian on Hanover Street, Pizzeria Regina, and Lucca.

Freedom Trail

The Freedom Trail is a historic walking trail located in Boston. Learn about the history of Boston, see historic sights, visit cultural attractions and enjoy your time there. Several different companies offer Freedom Trail tours daily. Some stops made on the trail are at Quincy Market, the USS Constitution, and Boston Common.

Dining in Boston

With all of the time that you will spend seeing what Boston has to offer, you’ll need to take a break and enjoy the fine dining experiences that are located here too. Alta Strada is a popular family-friendly Italian restaurant while Bergamot offers unique and creative dishes that appeal to vegetarians. Other great dining spots include Blue Ginger, Radius, and Sweet Cheeks Q.


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