I proofread the penultimate version of Off the Beaten (Subway) Track on my way down to DC a few years ago. It inspired Maurice (the hamster that runs on the wheel that powers my brain) to hustle a bit. This led me to wonder how far I could go riding public transportation. Could I get all the way to Florida from New York City? Unlikely. Subsequent research stranded me somewhere in Maryland. For no good reason, I pondered the subway/bus/commuter train idea this afternoon again. Could I get from Boston to New York City on public transit? How about Montreal? I was willing to walk ten miles if I had to do so in order to link a broken transit system and make it work. But what about my luggage? Would it endure?

Then I thought I could use some new luggage. If I mapped out some crazy trip, could I get a sponsor? Hey Samsonite! Would your toughest suitcase survive a several hundred mile trip using only public transit? Don't you want to find out? Call me.

An airline could challenge me. Given all the bad publicity they have, I could demonstrate that people are still better off flying than taking public transportation as far as it can go. Another option is public transit authorities, but they are pretty low on funds these days. The US Postal Service already wastes their time on Lance Armstrong, but how awesome would it be to trust me with a sack of mail to be delivered in another geographic region via public transit? It would be like the pony express, only with less horseshit to deal with and more subway musicians singing off-key. Someone could outfit me to prove that their clothing really stands up to being worn five days in a row. I will try not to spill on my shirt.

I'm open to suggestions. This could be brilliant. It is sort of like "Eat. Pray. Love.," but with granola bars and other snacks, praying that I don't miss a connection that forces me to wait an hour for the next bus, and falling in love with a subway rat. (That would be Maurice's love connection, not mine.) In the movie version, I will be played by Natalie Portman and Husband will be a Muppet. He'll stand on the platform on 72nd Street as I board a 2 train to Penn Station and forget to wave me off with a white handkerchief because he's busy using it to mop off the rivers of sweat cascading down his face. Seriously brilliant...

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