Founded in 2009 by Arié Moyal, HugTrain's mission is to offer a different perspective on the world and reduce social isolation by distributing and facilitating the exchange of hugs and peer-to-peer support by using technology to connect with people online and offline. This year, the 7th annual HugTour will crisscross North America from December 13, 2015 to January 7, 2016 raising spirits one hug at a time!

So long NOLA, hello Memphis, Chicago and, later, Omaha & Denver!

So long NOLA, hello Memphis, Chicago and, later, Omaha & Denver!

So we left New Orleans right on schedule at 1:45 on board Amtrak’s “City of New Orleans” made famous in song. Appropriate for a train that connects tree very musical cities: New Orleans Memphis and Chicago!

Here’s a picture of our train, the double-decker Superliner:

The "City of new Orleans"

The staff and most of the passengers were very happy about the Saints win over the Falcons the night before and there was a jubilant feeling in the air.

On the way out of New Orleans we through a swap and then along the western shore of Lake Ponchartrain. The view was beautiful!

I really do love the South with all it’s bogs, marshes and bayous 🙂


We headed northwards through Mississippi with an unpublished but extended stop in Jackson, MS and eventually made our way into Memphis, land of the Delta blues. I couldn’t walk t-10 feet off of Beale this time but I did light the last 8 candles of Hanukkah whilst the train was in the station!

And this morning I woke up to views of wind farms outside Champaign, Illinois being lit up by the first of the sun’s rays.

And now, I’m in Chicago’s Union Station looking for people to hug until my 2 PM train, the California Zephyr, through the Rockies and Sierra Nevadas to Emeryville, CA (for San Francisco) boards! This train has “hosted” some of the best moments of HugTrainUSA in the past two years and is special to me not to mention it has some of the best “accessible by train only” views in the country!

Tonight we stop in Omaha, Nebraska for 15 minutes at 10:55 PM and tomorrow morning we’ll be in Denver at 7:15 AM for 50 minutes! For a full itinerary please have a look at our itinerary page. 🙂

I hope to see and meet you along the way and I would love for you to take part in helping to make this year’s trip the best ever. Have a look at the ways you can help.



  1. Marc Cohen is in my head: Walkin in Memphis!

    This is great! It really makes me want to take an extended train trip myself (no surprise I have volunteered to take on HugTrainCDA this Summer). So far, the longest recent train trips I took were between Toronto and Montreal so only 5 or 6 hours, but I have to say, I love how smooth the train is, I love how it is faster than most highway cars and I love how it is an environmentally friendly way to travel & see the country.

    There’s something romantic and almost fitting about being a writer (blogger) on the train, meeting people and creating content on the road. ~

  2. Yes! Having taken trains on 4 continents I can say without a doubt that the train is the most civilised way to travel! Looking forward to HugTrainCanada!

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