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!

Past HugTours

In 2009, I was moving from Montreal to London and I decided to take a break between my crazy job and my crazy job search. What kind of a break? I would travel around the US by train.

At the time there were plans for a Global Hug Tour but it fell through so I decided to take that on and make it more sustainable & local. The holidays are a tough time for people, I was travelling and so I decided to give it a shot! I quickly put up a website, got some friends to help, bought a train pass, got a US SIM card and off I went!

Moment of the trip: On the second night of the Chicago to San Francisco leg of the trip, I remember completing a puzzle in the dark by phone & MP3 player light with fellow travelers. We were stranded in the middle of Utah by a broken wheel!

The following year, I was already living in London and was unsure if I could do another train ride. Sadly, I had lost a good friend, Danny- a victim of poor mental health- and didn’t have the strength to fly abroad and travel via train for two weeks.

But then the most wonderful string of events happened: I met a young lady who was wearing brown feather earrings (Danny loved brown feathers), was from Israel (Danny loved Israel) and was named Dannii. If that wasn’t a sign, what else could it be?! Then and there I decided to ride and I quickly planned the itinerary. I knew I had to do it for him.

Moment of the trip: On the second day of a 53 hour journey (Chicago to SF which staff do end to end with minimal sleep), one staff member found me and told me she hadn’t gotten her hug for the day…