On Synchronicity and the Building of Empires

It all started when I was feeling overwhelmed in the development of Empire Building Kit, my biggest business project of the year.

I’ve been working hard on it for weeks, but with all the material I’m putting in, I could see it would need more time.

Then I started making plans for the big trip I’m starting later tonight. I’ll be in Central America this weekend, enjoying cheese empanadas and café con leche while working from the road. Then, I’m going across the Atlantic for visits to the Ukraine, Cyprus, and Cape Verde. On the way back I stop off in Pittsburgh for a talk before continuing home.

I know it’s a very full itinerary. For everyone who’s new here, my theory is: to have a big life, do big things—but wait, more on that in a moment.

From Pittsburgh I fly to Chicago, but I wasn’t able to find a flight back home to Portland the next day. Thus I had two problems—when to launch the Empire Building Kit, and how to get home from Chicago.

I was telling Jolie all about both of these problems right before I went to Austin. “Why don’t you take the train?” she asked.

I looked at her like she was crazy. “From Chicago to Portland? Do you know how long that would take? And besides, it’s Amtrak.”

(No offense to anyone who loves Amtrak, which I assume would include anyone who has never ridden a train anywhere else in the world.)

But while we were talking about the need to push back the Empire Building Kit a couple of weeks and how to get home from Chicago, I agreed to look at the idea of taking the train. And guess what came up! Check this out.


That’s right…. the name of the train from Chicago to Portland is EMPIRE BUILDER. Wow. Talk about coincidence. It got me thinking about a crazy idea… but then I thought, no, that would be way too difficult and way too unrealistic.

The next day, the UPS guy knocked on my door to deliver a package. Various travel companies have been sending me free laptop bags recently, and this was the latest shipment. I don’t usually accept free stuff, but I decided in this case I’d do a review if I liked one of them, and give away the ones that aren’t for me.

The name of the bag, I kid you not, was EMPIRE BUILDER. Wow. OK, I decided. I am now officially paying attention. Even though I don’t pitch stuff on behalf of big companies, I figured this deserves a mention.

Then I realized something else: I’ll be coming home close to my birthday, which also begins the three-year countdown to visiting my final 62 countries. I could return to Chicago, take the EMPIRE BUILDER train with my EMPIRE BUILDER bag, and launch the EMPIRE BUILDING KIT while riding through North Dakota on my 32nd birthday.

A crazy idea, yes? So of course I decided to go for it. What could go wrong, besides everything? Remember: it’s almost always better to do something. It will be a good story either way.

Enter J.D. Roth

Then I decided to make it even bigger. I called up my friend J.D. Roth, whose book is launching that same week.

“How would you like to launch the book in Chicago, and then do media interviews from the train for 46 hours on the way back home?”

Mr. Roth thought about it for about five seconds and said yes. (That’s why I called him! I knew he would.)

So that’s the plan. I wanted to find a way to make the EBK launch a fun experience for everyone, including all of the people who don’t need it or aren’t otherwise interested. Now we have a fun story, a party in Chicago, and one tired non-conformist writer by the end of it.

Here is the schedule:

Now until early April: Chris on the road in various countries, frantically wraps up the content for EBK, media stuff in Europe, etc.

3-April Return to the U.S. (SID-LIS-MUC-ORD-PIT)
4-April Speaking at TedX, Carnegie Mellon edition
5-April Chicago meetup (RSVP here to get on the list) + book launch for J.D. Roth
6-April Embark on the Empire Builder train with J.D. and the Empire Builder bag
7-April Amtrak Birthday Party + Live Launch of EBK somewhere in North Dakota
8-April Return home, sleep for five days

The Universe and the UPS Guy

Perhaps the universe does not bring a UPS guy to your door with the name of your next business project emblazoned on a complimentary laptop bag. Unless your project is called Cascades, Eurostar, or ViaRail, there might not be a train named after what you’ve been working on for months.

But look around! You never know where you’ll find synchronicity and encouragement. Try stuff out to see where it leads; focus on telling good stories with your life. My friend Charlie Gilkey made a shirt that expresses this idea well.

I read the new book Rework on the flight back from Austin last week. My favorite story was how they didn’t have a way to get paid for a project that billed customers every 30 days, so they kept putting it off. Finally they just decided to launch and then figure out how to get paid sometime before the 30 days ended. The clock was ticking, they knew they had a month to get it done, so they figured it out right before the end.

And now the clock is ticking for me: I fly to Miami tonight, and off we go. I’ve got 19 days to make this work. I’m simultaneously scared and excited, which I figure is a very good sign. Here’s wishing you well as I head out to Miami and beyond. Next stop, Nicaragua, then everything else.

Your faithful writer,



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  • Everett Bogue says:

    I took the Empire Builder when I left Portland in November to head to Chicago. It was a great experience, I definitely recommend it. I got a lot of work done on that train, and the countryside was beautiful.

    Keep in mind for interviews though, it’s very rural up there. I didn’t have a cell connection for most of Montana and the Dakotas — but I’m on AT&T, so maybe that’s why.

    I’m really looking forward to the Empire Builder Launch. Let me know if there’s any way I can help out.


  • Nate says:

    Wonderful story Chris!! Personally, I think synchronistic events like this happen to us everyday, although they might not be quite as ‘in your face’ as the messages you received.

    It’s all about opening up our minds to new possibilities and being more present and in the moment so that we can recognize these signs. I’m a firm believer in following your gut and listening to your intuition.

    I’ve had moments like this myself as I’m continually working towards doing work I love. At times I want to give up or think I can’t do it and just when that happens – bam, bam, bam – these strange events will happen that seem to be telling me ‘no, keep up with it, you’re moving in the right direction.’

    The more we open up to this and the more in tune we are with living a life fully in the moment doing work we love, the more these events will happen.

    Great story and great lesson! Thanks so much for sharing.

  • ABCcreativity says:

    complete and total LOVE!
    the whole world is conspiring to make your dreams come true.

    ps – i am wondering how you handle jet lague and time change adjustments. i know i am particularly sensitive, but i got back from istanbul last weekend and still don’t feel like myself. i’m not able to sleep through the night and i’m tired all the time. (i was in turkey and egypt for 15 days, and didn’t have any jet lague problems when i got there.)

  • Laura says:

    Some things are just meant to be! Good luck with your launch and your journey; we were looking at going from Chicago to LA {The SouthWest Chief Route} so it’ll be good to hear about your experience.

  • Pete says:

    Hi, Chris. This is a smart, entertaining post highlighting the hidden delights found when creative problem solving is paired with an easy going attitude.

    It got me to thinking: Wasn’t it just a year ago that you posted 279 Days? Amazing year. Congratulations.

  • Luke @ says:

    What an amazing story! I have always wanted to travel by train, but it always seems to end up being cheaper to drive and/or fly.

    Best of luck on the launch of the Empire Building Kit. You are an inspiration for my wife and I!

  • Ari Herzog says:

    Good for you, Chris! Sounds fun!

    I rode Amtrack’s Cardinal train from Washington, D.C. to Chicago in September 2009 and it was an experience. A 24-hour experience. I traveled solo, opted for the cheaper seat than the expensive bed; and met many neat people along the way. You’ll enjoy it.

  • G says:

    Ha that’s fantastic! Please tell me you’ll take a side trip to the Empire State Building while you’re at it?

  • Mara says:

    that is amazing–a great story. you are likely to be one tired cookie by the end of that train trip, but it’ll be worth it. true synchronicity is rare, i think, but when it happens it must not be ignored. have fun.

  • Jeffrey Tang says:

    “I could return to Chicago, take the EMPIRE BUILDER train with my EMPIRE BUILDER bag, and launch the EMPIRE BUILDING KIT while riding through North Dakota on my 32nd birthday.”

    Now THAT’S a series of cool concidences! Can’t wait to see what the EBK looks like once it launches – plus it sounds like the launch itself will be fun to watch 🙂

    Good luck! Do epic sh… er … stuff.

  • Zofie says:

    Synchronicity Rules!!!

  • Frankerson P says:

    That’s a really cool story. Funny that you mentioned travel by train because my wife and I were just talking about trying a train ride for our upcoming trip to California (I never thought to travel by train before, but a friend mentioned it recently).

    Sounds like you guys will have a blast. Enjoy it!

  • Richard says:

    I agree with everyone above. That IS an amazing story. I guess you really never do know when you will get subtle hints letting you know that you are on the right path. Although, the hints you received weren’t exactly subtle : )

  • Vanessa B. says:

    Thanks for the smile today, the shirt is exactly what I’ve been thinking about lately( funny how that works out). Although Amtrak could use some work, I enjoy the laid back, relaxed pace of the train. It forces you to slow down and enjoy the passing scenery. Enjoy those cheese empanadas.

  • Brooke Thomas says:

    I love this! How fun are the little ‘wink, wink, nudge, nudge’ goodies? Clearly this is a project with some magic pixie dust swirling around it.

    I can’t wait for the launch and I’m wishing you lots of joy and adrenaline for the weeks ahead…

  • mary says:

    the highlight of my trip 2 years ago was the starlight express from LA to Oakland. Did you know that LA station has a rose garden? And yes the people i met on the train were lovely and friendly. It was the day of Obama’s election and they anounced it over the tannoy and there was a cheer in the train !

    a brillian resource for train travel globally is

  • Shayna Walker says:

    That’s awesome Chris. I launched the first official leg of my national bridal show tour via train (Amtrak of course) and absolutely loved the experience. The intentional slowing down helped bring so much into focus. I wrote pages of blogs I have yet to publish about the almost spiritual nature of taking a train vs. any other kind of transportation while I sat there. I hope it exceeds expectations and that you have a great time!

  • Gillian says:

    I can’t wait to hear about the train ride. I’m really curious about how you will experience Amtrak as it seems to have such a bad reputation. Personally, I love train travel so I’m looking forward to seeing how Amtrak stacks up.

  • Rebecca in Switzerland says:

    Ha! Amtrak was great last time I used it. You’ll have to give a full report. Nothing like the Swiss trains, of course. I’ll be looking for synchronicity everywhere now. Fun post. Thanks!

  • kristine says:

    Thanks, Chris! This is a wonderful story and I loved hearing you say that attempting to pull this off both scares and excites you. Isn’t that the BEST feeling? Lately, I’ve been stuck mostly in the just-plain-scared and overwhelmed realms, and I’m ready to get back to excited. Thanks for the nudge. Have a fabulous trip!

  • Timo says:

    Sounds great! I love trains, and although I have never travelled with AmTrak, I’m sure it will be an awesome experience 🙂

    Good Luck!

  • Hermann Delorme says:

    Hey Chris. If companies are sending you free labtops to go with the free labtop bags, I’ll take one off your hands if you have no use for it. :):)

    P.S. I don’t mind if the words Empire Builder are not printed on the cover of the labtop. I’m open.

  • Karen Talavera says:

    So glad to hear you’re one of the ones paying attention to the signs the universe sends us (although your Empire Builder signs were impossible not to notice!) Just saying hi from Miami area as you pass through – wish you had time to do a Miami meet up!

    And BTW, here’s some more *synchronicity* for ya. My business is called Synchronicity Marketing (yes, the name was an intentional choice) and I’m from Chicago.

    Happy travels! Can’t wait for the EBK launch and your report from the American rails. Totally hear you about Amtrak (basically, US trains suck) and yes I’ve ridden both it and trains in Japan and Europe. No comparison. Good luck, I hope somehow it’s a pleasant surprise.

  • Lisa Sonora Beam says:

    Chris, thanks so much for sharing this incredible story of synchronicity.

    I’m rooting for you here in Oaxaca, Mexico. Chicago is my former home town – if there’s anything I can do to help, beside blab about this on my blog or Twitter, pls. let me know.

    Back when I was 18 years old, I arrived IN Chicago on a long 24 hr. hour Amtrack ride from the East. I didn’t have a job or an apartment, I landed at Union Station and figured in out from there, right after I bought a map of the city at the station.

    Probably this extra dose of intensity will make the project even better.

    I’ll be rooting for you, and wishing you a happy birthday.

    It’s an incredible idea. So glad we’re all in on it!

  • Dave says:

    When will you be in Pittsburgh? I would be interested in a Pittsburgh reader meetup, although the numbers might be small…

  • Chris says:

    I’m in Pitt for the CMU event only, so unfortunately no reader meetups then. Maybe they’ll let people outside of CMU attend TedX – I’m not sure.

  • Giulietta the Muse says:

    Hey Chris,

    The train sounds the coolest! It’s retro and futuristic at the same time. (and you don’t have to risk one of those body scans that bombard folks with T-rays from every angle.)

    I love synchronistic events. When you open yourself up to them, you see that they’re happening all the time.

    Go for your big what, the how will figure itself out!

    Enjoy the train …

    Giulietta, Inspirational Rebel

  • Monique says:

    Sounds exciting! I love it when I experience synchronicity. The world just seems a bit more magical.

    Good luck with getting everything done!

  • Lise says:

    I love Tom Bihn’s bags. They are well designed to give you what you need even before you need it, and well-made in the US to boot. Hope you enjoy yours.

  • Sharon G. says:

    Today’s post was suspiciously synchronistic for me…just what I needed to do my own BIG things. Thanks.

  • Susan says:

    I’m a believer in synchronicity, if it resonates and sticks with you, you know there’s something deeper going on and your mind is looking for the pieces. It’s a gift, accept it.

    I took Amtrak from NYC to Montreal and absolutely loved it. The first 6 hours flew by, I barely looked down at my book at all and just stared at the mountains and the Hudson. I have a feeling you’ll meet someone important, get inspired, launch yet another product… I bet there’s an epiphany headed your way, looking forward to hearing what it is.

  • tricia baehr says:

    I have been working on a huge project that has so much synchronicity surrounding it some times I just have to pinch myself to believe how great everything is going…a dear friend of mine who is involved said, “Every time I think this is some pie in the sky pipe dream the Universe just keeps responding with another big ‘ole YES!” And as Sharon above stated…your email came in right on time!!

  • soultravelers3 says:

    I LOVE this! What a great story! We’ve had a lot of these kinds of synchronicity kinds of experiences on our open ended family world tour. Being open to them and willing to make the most of them…like you did…makes such a difference.

    Reminds me of my fave Goethe quote:

    “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back– Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

  • Patrick McCrann says:

    Very, very cool. And the book (I am sure) will be cooler. Thanks for sharing!

  • Devin says:

    Hey Chris,
    I love it when a plan comes together. I love it even more when a plan comes together in a mystical/coincidental way. Great story! And best of success with the new launch.

  • Casey says:

    That’s a little thing I like to call “triangulation.” When three seemingly distinct things are saying the same thing, it’s time to wake up and listen really hard. But usually it’s so obvious the listening part isn’t the hard part. It’s the getting up and doing it that’s the clincher.

    On the final leg of our round-the-world trip my wife and I took Amtrak from San Francisco to Dunsmuir. A hell of a way to travel. You guys will have a great time. Whistlestop tour. Perfect.

  • sarah says:

    I’m obsessed with this post! I love it when the universe takes some time out to say hello.

  • Daniel says:

    I always look forward to your updates. I find them enjoyable but also inspirational and thought provoking. Thank you!

    I can’t wait to hear about this next leg of your travels.

  • Joe says:

    Good work considering the train! For me, travel hacking is far more than just navigating fare rules and award tickets, it’s about considering all available options.

    But I’m a bit confused by “I wasn’t able to find a flight back home to Portland the next day” – ORD/MDW-PDX flights are cheap and plentiful Apr 6th, what was the issue?

  • Chris says:

    The issue was Star Alliance awards availability – it was completely zeroed out. (I could have had a free flight ORD-PDX due to flying MUC-ORD, but nothing came up in various routings when I booked.)

  • Paul Sabaj says:

    Way cool the way things work out. Can’t wait to hear how the rest of the story goes!

  • Naomi Niles says:

    Oh wow, syncronicities fascinate me and it looks like there were just too many hear too ignore. It’s not usually so loud and clear like that.

    Good luck on your trip!

  • Mitch says:

    OK Chris… I have been reading your blog for a while now, and what just happened freaked me out. You have to hear this.

    I quit my job 3 days ago to focus on bringing in enough money with my business to move to Miami on the 6th of April. I have been nervous and excited about taking such a leap. I have exactly 19 days left until I move to Miami. I was still almost doubting if I could pull it off.

    “And now the clock is ticking for me: I fly to Miami tonight, and off we go. I’ve got 19 days to make this work. I’m simultaneously scared and excited, which I figure is a very good sign. Here’s wishing you well as I head out to Miami and beyond.”


  • Chris says:

    What a great story! Wow. Good luck with the big transition.

  • Lindsey says:

    I love this story, and all the various ways the universe is nudging you. I try to remain open to those kinds of messages as well, and I love that you are. I hope the train ride is full of magic.

  • Greg Blencoe says:


    Wow, what a great story about synchronicity. I love when this happens! I think I’ve heard that synchronicity is the universe’s way of winking back at you.

    I’m really looking forward to Empire Building Kit. I think A LOT of people are going to be very interested in it.

    And great Goethe quote from Soultravelers3!

  • Leanne Regalla says:

    GREAT story, Chris! LOVE it!

  • Heidi Howes says:

    Wow! I love the crazy synchronicity! Are you familiar with the author Robert Moss? He has written extensively on the topic of synchronicity. Can’t wait to see how your adventure turns out!

  • Deb Mallett says:

    Omg… it was meant to be. You can’t ignore signs like that. I love taking the train. You have so much time without all your “stuff” that you have no choice but to start to relax. But with media interviews and launches – maybe not so much relaxing. Anyway, it sounds exciting and I hope you enjoy the train trip.

  • Silvia says:

    After last week, I’m not sure whether I believe in “coincidences” anymore…
    Leaving the doctors’ office with my husband and scary news, another man was walking to his car – which happened to be parked next to ours – at the same time. We said hello and the casual “How’s it going” without even thinking. His reply “I’m grateful, I’m walking and talking and it’s a beautiful day.” It was just what we needed to hear to realize how many things we have to be grateful for!
    The Universe must have sensed what we needed, and sent it, just like it did with you. Enjoy your adventure.

  • Miranda says:

    Speaking of the Universe and the UPS guy… pick up a copy of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s novel “Good Omens”, if you haven’t read it already.

    If you have read it already… you understand why I recommend it. 🙂

  • Alison Stevens says:

    What a fabulous set of events! I love synchronicity. The synchronicitous (synchronistic?) events in my life have been small, thus far, but they do happen often if you’re open to them. I’ve noticed that as I move toward my dream career, more significant ones are happening, too. This is really inspiring, Chris!

    Have a terrific time on your journey and enjoy the train. I don’t know how Amtrak would be, after riding trains in Europe for the past several years, but at least you are unlikely to experience a train-drivers-are-on-“strike” event like the one I had in Italy. It lasted for one afternoon and only affected the trains to my destination… naturally.

  • Ciawy says:

    What a great story – it sounds like the whole universe is conspiring and rooting for your Empire Building project. Good luck!

    On the train story – I took the Cascade train from Portland to Seattle and it was great fun. It took only 3 hours though, and very incomparable to the route you’re gonna take. I wouldn’t really mind taking the train across the country and I think I would be a great experience.

  • Joe says:

    Re: no award space
    Makes sense. I find that booking flights (esp premium cabin travel) *within* the US is the most frustrating part of stitching together award travel.

    Hope you have a chance to stop into the Coffee Hound in your 25mins in Havre, MT! It’s 2 blocks away from the station.

  • Kay says:

    It’s definitely a sign! I say go, and share it with us. I may be able to talk DH into finally taking that trip with me. Sounds like your next journey has made itself known.

  • steve cubel says:

    Took this train ride in 1963! One of the best things i every did and i have done plenty.


  • Angela Artemis says:

    Chris, with TWO synchronicities back to back like that – your launch of Empire Builders is going to be hugely successful! The Universe is definitely behind you. You’re off to a great start!

  • Daniel Stallworth says:

    I took Amtrak from Boston to California in the beginning of March, Going through Chicago. Quite an interesting 2 and a half days experience. I am following this blog closely and support everything that Chris is doing. I am grateful for the inspiring ambition and non-conformity and hope to produce the same effect when my time comes. I also love TED talks, congrats on that.

  • G says:

    No seriously, Chris – have you considered weaving in the EMPIRE state BUILDING? Just because? Because come on. That’s just clever. 🙂

  • Gail says:

    LOVE it!
    I believe there are no accidents – the Universe is too smart for that. The word “coincidence” comes from “coincide” (i.e., to correspond exactly) – so it’s interesting to me how coincidence came to mean something arbitrary.
    Have an awesome trip! This is a beautiful area of the United States.

  • Sarah Fain says:

    You are insane. (That’s a compliment.)

  • Jonathan says:

    The train ride is awesome. You will get so much work done, meet heaps of people and see amazing sights.

    This will be the best thing ever.

  • sarah says:

    This story is awesome. Synronicity is everywhere, and it takes courage to write about it and share your personal experiences. This makes me want to share all of mine.
    Thanks 😉

  • Leah McClellan says:

    I literally laughed out loud about the name of the train! Great story. Stuff like this happens to me all the time. Some times it’s not so obvious, other times it is. The universe speaks! Good luck 🙂

  • Mars Dorian says:

    Yep, synchrodestiny all the way. The more you’re aligned with the universe- the more awesome your life will tend to get.

    I enjoyed your post. My life has gotten crazy in the good way lately, all because I’m totally flowing with the cosmic juices. A little touch of madness and creativity, that’s all you need to take on the world.

  • Michael Michalowski says:

    This is so freakin’ crazy, really. I like your attitude, keep it up! You’ll have plenty of time to work on something on that train, won’t you? 🙂

    See all those comments on that post. People LOVE such stories, you’ve definitely made that an good article. I’m curious how this all will end, even if I am not interested in the EBK. But exactly why not..? 😉

    wish you the best.

  • Rick Curtis says:


    We took a train from Chicago to Denver. We went through so many towns I never would have gone through or seen otherwise. Air travel is very overrated. Sure it gets you ‘there’ quicker, but you miss so much in the process.


  • Daisy says:

    My husband and I rode the Empire Builder from Wisconsin to Seattle last summer to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. We had a wonderful trip! I hope yours is as enjoyable as ours was. Enjoy!

  • Sachit Gupta says:

    Chris, we’re so PUMPED to have both you and Jonathan Fields in Pittsburgh. It’s going to be great!

    @Chris @Dave For TEDx CMU, anyone can register and the event is free to attend. To apply just go to our website (I’ve linked to it from my name since we can’t have links in the comment). Keep in mind, registration closes March 21 at 12.30 PM.

  • Annabel says:

    Hola Chris,

    It took me a while to understand this whole thing (Friday afternoon…) but when I finally got my head round it I realised you’re totally nuts and that’s why I like you. Look forward to hearing more about the launch and the trip.

    Keep chuffing:)

    Your faithful reader, Annabel.

  • Michael says:

    The UPS guy, the weird billboard advertising something you would never buy, the off-hand remark, the “yield” sign at just the particularly right moment, the YES that comes through the filters of our resistance and expectations. The signs are everywhere, once we decide we ARE in the slipstream of our Life.

  • Steven says:

    I will be interested to hear more about this Empire Building Kit. I think you are wise to pay attention to the messages you are getting. I’ve purchased a few of your products now and I look forward to the EBK. Good luck on your train ride!

  • Wyman says:

    Great post Chris,

    Doesn’t hurt to try slower travel once in awhile. I have ridden the train fort times in my life. The first was with big old steam engines climbing over Tehachapi pass in California when I was eight. On the switch back the engine passed us going the other way. Really fun.

    Synchronicity is a big word. We just call it co-incie-dincie.

    The old guy Wyman

  • ginastama says:

    Excellent and inspiring story of synchronicity – made me laugh in delight!

  • Megan says:

    get the bed! you’ll love it! (it comes with free meals. Very fun and you’ll still get hilarious people watching, plus something extremely cozy and fort-like)

  • Alan McBride says:

    Excellent linking, would love the train trip no matter who the provider is. If you have doubts about Amtrak come and catch a Sydney City Rail train;-)

    Enjoy the trip and good luck with the launch.


  • juds123 says:

    Synchronicity has a cousin — serendipity! 😉

  • Paula says:

    When you’re at the Coffee Hound in Havre, MT, see if they have huckleberry muffins. Mmm mmm good! I took the Empire Builder several times in the early 90s when I was in grad school in Bellingham, WA (my family lives in Wisconsin). It’s interesting to find out that even people like Chris (and others) who seem to know everything and have hacks for everything don’t know about something that to me seems so simple. The trip may seem to take forever, but just relax into it and meditate on the prairie passing by. You have nothing else to do! (Well maybe YOU do…). Say, is there a Slow Travel movement (you know, like Slow Food)?

  • Peter says:

    I admire your energy: I hope some of what you do gives you relaxation. Have a happy birthday (mine is the 8th, but 30 years older). About synchronicity – someone asked me a few years ago if I believed in COINCIDENCE. I think he meant did I attach any significance to it (like fate etc). After all, coincidence just means that things sometimes happen together. How on earth can anyone not believe in coincidence – it just happens. In another language this is synchronicity. People look for patterns in their life; so if they want synchronicity/coincidence to mean something, that is their choice. Use synchronicity if it helps to strengthen you, but don’t attach too much meaning to it.

  • Dennis Happé says:

    You are in a very strong conversation with the universe!
    Have fun!

  • Tanya Monteiro says:

    Everyone I know always asks me “where in the world are you today” since hearing about you Chirs, about a year ago now, I point them to your site! It’s been a fun experience so far! All the best with this leg of your trip & if you have a couple of hours to spare in Lisbon I’d be happy to give you a quick and easy tour in my smart. Happy Travels

  • Melissa Dutmers says:

    Awesome story! Love how life uncovers connections. Safe, fun travels to you Chris.

  • Rosemary Nulty says:

    Chris- Love when synchronicity appears like cosmic singposts pointing you in the right direction. Fear and excitement are 2 sides of the same coin. Enjoy it!

  • Jes says:

    What an amazing idea! I’ve taken that train from msp to washington, hope you guys are staying in a room at least! 🙂 Best of luck with the launch and happy early birthday. If I was in minneapolis, I definitely would’ve made the trip to Chicago for the launch!

  • Tanya says:

    Wow, I hope you enjoy the trip.

    I know all about these kind of coincidences. Sometimes they’re like a confirmation to what you really want to do, but haven’t for one reason or another. Like the Universe is telling you, “Alright already, here’s another sign, now go for it!”

    That’s awesome you’re going to be visiting Ukraine. I was born in Kiev and I’m actually going back again to visit my family there in July!

  • Stacie says:

    It was so cool to see you write synchronicity and also for the guts it takes to be willing to go with it…My husband and I are taking that route this summer heading back East, but driving instead of training it…have fun and I really look forward to more details about the trip and the launch!

  • Christi says:

    Wow, Chris, amazing connection.

    I love when the Universe just plops them in your lap.

    I had to giggle when I read you’ll be launching as you chug through North Dakota. You will be chugging right by me, albeit in the pre-dawn hours. I wish you well on this journey.


  • Dale Uno says:

    I’m brand new to AONC and am a new convert to social media, so I’m a little nervous about posting this, my very first, comment, but was so inspired by your article and the comments of others that I just had to take the plunge….

    Thank you, Chris, for sharing this story. I just started my business a couple of months ago and have been struggling with some of the typical hurdles new businesses face. The last few days have been especially difficult, so I was only able to read your article this evening (Sunday, here in Hawaii). Synchronicity is what got me to where I am today, and your story was a wonderful reminder of that. Have a great birthday! (Loved the Goethe quote, by the way!)

  • Etsuko says:


    OK I’m a bit behind on reading your post as I’m on vacation in Japan – but better late than never! I’m glad I read this crazy story. I recently wrote about a phrase I read in a book “Survivor’s Club” which talked about what it takes to survive in a catastrophic life event. The key is exactly what you said – look for opportunities!

    It’s so inspiring and I look forward to following the whole project launch!


  • Andreas Christensen says:

    Good luck Chris! If anyone can do you it you certainly can! I’ve taken the Empire Builder from Chicago to Portland and the landscape was amazing! Just remember to walk around a lot and stretch your legs, and keep your eyes peeled when you go through Glacier Park- I saw all kinds of wildlife.

  • Christina Dickson says:

    I love it when confirmations come through like this! Congrats and good luck sir!

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