Call me a glutton for pain, but I seem to have an attraction to long overland journeys. My family and I drove up the entire east coast of the United States to Maine and back. I took a Greyhound bus all the way up the east coast of Australia, from Sydney to Cairns. And I just got home from driving to the Southernmost Point of the United States in the Florida Keys.
But that wasn’t enough. Inspired by Andrew Evans’ National Geographic Bus 2 Antarctica project, I’m embarking on #Tweet2Toronto, in which I will be riding Megabus buses from Atlanta to Toronto, a trip of over 1,000 miles over a period of 5 days. I will be making stops in Charlotte, North Carolina and Washington DC before arriving in the Canadian city in time for the Travel Blog Exchange conference.
I’m excited about attending TBEX for the first time in 3 years. I feel like I’ve grown a lot in that time. Back then, I was afraid to approach other bloggers, let alone PR reps. I was intimidated by it all and was shy when it came to talking about my blog. I only handed out 2 business cards and was still running on Blogger.
Since then I’ve spent a year living in Australia. I’ve become a writer for Her Packing List. I’ve landed press trips and pitched by ideas at World Travel Market. Now I almost feel like one of those bloggers I was scared to talk to. I’m very proud of what I’ve accomplished and hope to be able to share it with companies and work together. And most of all, I am excited to learn new things and meet (and reunite with) my fellow bloggers. There’s always something I can improve upon, after all.
Overland travel has a lot of benefits, the top of which in this case is low cost. If you’re like me, you have time to spare, but not necessarily money to spare. While flying to Toronto would only take a few hours, it would cost be a couple hundred dollars. And I would miss everything in between. Taking this journey by bus allows me to see the sights in between, namely Charlotte and Washington DC. It’s better for environment and you don’t have to deal with the TSA or liquids restrictions!
I’ve ridden Megabus for 8 hours overnight to New Orleans, so I’m familiar with their fleet. The double decker buses offer free WiFi, plenty of outlets and reclinable seats. Their expansion into the South has made it easier to travel around the area for cheap. Foreign travelers now have a better way to get to different parts of the USA, areas they might not normally see, without renting a car.
What Will I See? Where Will I Stay?
I’m very excited to be working with the Charlotte visitor’s bureau for my visit, which I will be able to cover on both websites. They’ve arranged for me to visit the Levine Museum of the New South, the Mint Museum of Art Uptown and of course, the NASCAR Hall of Fame. I’ll also be dining at Halcyon Restaurant, one of the top in town, and staying at the stunning Westin Charlotte Hotel. And to fuel by love of beer, I hope to stop by NoDa Brewing Company, Charlotte’s craft brewery.
My time in our nation’s capital is short, but I will pack in as much as I can that I’ve missed on visits from my childhood. I haven’t been since summer 2005. I definitely want to eat at Ben’s Chili Bowl, as well as revisit the Hirschorn Museum, one of my favorites. I may also look into the Union Market, akin to New York’s Chelsea Market. I’ll be staying at Lofty Hostel, conveniently located near Union Station, so I can easily catch my overnight bus to Toronto!
And in Toronto, I’ll be staying at Planet Traveler Hostel, one I’ve heard great things about from Toronto resident and fellow AFAR Ambassador Natalie of Near Afar. Before all the madness of TBEX begins, I’ll be exploring the city on my own, visiting Niagara Falls and the CN Tower, touring the city’s breweries and looking for street art. And oh yeah, that conference with all its accompanying parties and events!
How can I follow along?
I hope to post a daily photo on Instagram and Facebook, but this will all depend on Internet connection. I will also be posting tips from the places I visit on Foursquare and photos on Pinterest. Follow the #tweet2toronto hashtag for the latest updates of the trip, brought to you around the clock.