The Passport Express arrives in its final destination: San Francisco. The bonds formed on the train prove hard to break, as passengers and mentors alike spread out to explore the city before gathering on the Embarcadero for the group’s final event.
After stops in Chicago, Saint Paul, Montana, and Oregon, the Passport Express pulled into San Francisco 13 days after it had left Washington, D.C. What had been a group of strangers just 2 weeks prior had coalesced into a family, thanks to long nights on the train; explorations in cities and towns across the country; and meals, stories, and tribulations shared along the way. The sure-footedness of being back on land made the group long for the train and its familiar environs, and it was with heavy hearts that everyone left the station. A few looked on as the train, now empty, continued on down the tracks.
After the train pulled into Emeryville, CA early in the morning, the group had the day in San Francisco to stretch out after a long night on the train, get some rest, or have some quiet time to digest what the past two weeks had meant to them. At least, that was the idea when the schedule was planned. Instead, passengers and mentors split up into groups large and small to explore the city, holding on to the vestiges of the trip as long as possible.
The only required activity on the day’s agenda was a sunset cruise, and there was a palpable sense of relief when the group was fully assembled again. The Passport Express crew was joined by friends from the Bay Area aboard Hornblower Cruises‘ California Hornblower. The night proved generous as the sun dipped below the horizon just as the boat slid gently beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, flawlessly lit as if it knew the group was coming.
What became unmistakably clear as the group reflected on the journey of the Passport Express was that each and every person that stepped aboard the train contributed to the experience in ways that no one had expected upon arrival in Washington, D.C. The group is so grateful for one another, and grateful to the Passion Passport community for following and supporting their cross-country adventure. In their own words:
“You might feel pretty lucky if, in the span of a year, one or two people change your life for the better. I’m not talkin’ business decisions, or book recommendations. I’m talkin’ about people who reroute you—fundamentally shift the way you look and think about things. In the past two weeks, I’ve been lucky enough to have about 40 people change my life.”
Fran Tirado, Passport Express Passenger
“Saying farewell with local friends and supporters aboard a boat for our #PassportExpress closing event last night. I may have shed a tear or two or seven hundred, but man, it felt so good.”
Zach Glassman, Passion Passport Founder
“I spent the last two weeks traveling across America with some of the most talented and genuine people I’ve ever met. I originally planned on building a new book out of my travels but instead found myself caring less about my camera and more about the people and the conversations that were unfolding. Here’s to new and old friendships and to the journeys we all share.”
Christopher Amat, Passport Express Passenger
“We could not have asked for a more perfect final night together. I hesitate to say that our journey is over because if there’s one thing we learned, it’s that our journey awaits.”
Pei Ketron, Passport Express Mentor