My Brilliant Plan II: The Brilliant Plan Strikes Back

If you have been reading this a blog a while – say, over a month – and have a memory that is capable of holding information for a certain arbitrary period (lets for example, pick a month as that period) you may remember that just under a month ago I spoke of a dream Id had, and that I thought it might just be possible to realise, in a post under the title of MY BRILLIANT PLAN. No worries if you DONT remember it, you can use it finding the earlier posts button at the bottom of the page, the archive links on the right hand side of the page are another avenue to retrieving it (check July 2010 and scroll to the relevant entry), or simply click on the words MY BRILLIANT PLAN highlighted above, which should also direct you there. You could also click this link here.

Or alternatively not worry about it, since Im about to explain it again, but briefer.

Im a bit giddy, sorry.

See, ever since I was a teenager, Ive fantasised about taking long train trips. And it turns out, as an adult, that a) Ive actually managed to land myself – albeit pretty precariously – in a vocation that means I can work from lots of different places, and that b) Ive discovered that trains are actually one of the most productive and concentrated places for me to get work done.

It was through this somewhat flossy justification that I managed to persuade My Beloved that this was something that we should do, combined with the increasing likelihood of an impending departure from this place.

And Amtrak offer rail passes that mean you can go anywhere on their system for a set number of days and a within a number of connections, and its actually very reasonable for the amuont of distance youre covering (so maths less than £250 for a two week pass?) And everything combined, together with a lot of timetable finagling, hotel reservation site wrangling and trying to get work into place to pay for the damn thing (more is very much welcome, by the way, should anyone with the power to fling it my way be reading), means that two weeks right now, as I write this, we will already have been on trains for more than 33 hours, all told. Well be somewhere in Southern Arizona, I think, or possibly New Mexico – I havent the relevant timetable to hand – skirting the Mexican border.

Its a trip of around 7000 miles. In a really, REALLY big circle, with a few stops here and there. A couple of people have asked me already why were not just doing coast to coast, but for some reason, it didnt feel right (as well as not using the segments of travel on the rail pass the most effective way). Because a journey from coast to coast somehow makes it about the destination – this way, its all about the journey. And also about coming home to San Francisco at the end of it.

And something else, that Ill get to further down the post.

Oh, AND also I get to collect more states this way. Yes, thats right, not content with collecting streets, Ive also been making a collection of States. With some rules – ie: aeroplanes and airports dont count, nor does passing through without setting foot in the state, and you have to be there long enough to eat a meal or buy something if youre otherwise not hungry. And because things are only real if theyre physical, I have a physical manifestation of that collection too.


Which Im almost as obsessive about, although its more expensive to be so. Trust me, the rabbit hole goes way deeper than you want to go. And Im going to get a BUNCH more states this route.


Im too, too excited.

But the real point of this post is not to say Im excited about the trip – though I am, of course. It was to say that Im excited about the project I have planned for the trip, which, if you would like, I would like to get some of you involved in. (Not, for those whove been reading a really long time, as involved as folk got in the fluxiness project way back in 2003. Just in a very simple way).

A very simple way that will be explained tomorrow, when I will unveil the secret project.

The secret project known only by its codename: PROJECT I LIKE A LOT AND WILL TELL YOU ABOUT TOMORROW

I am not very good at codenames. I am quite good at projects, though.

And I am VERY EXCITED about this one in particular.