If Californians Won’t Ride Trains, How Come Our Family’s Amtrak Trip Was Mobbed?

A Journey on the Pacific Surfliner Shows Why We Need More High-Speed Rail, Not Less

If any of the conventional wisdom about trains in California is true—that no one ever rides them, that Californians prefer to drive or fly, and that high-speed rail or other train projects are “boondoggles” or “trains to nowhere”—then how do you explain the public humiliation of my wife?

Not long ago, my whole family—my beloved, myself, and the Three Stooges (our boys, ages nine, seven, and four)—were on Amtrak returning to L.A. from San Diego, when an announcement came over the train sound system.

“Mrs. Mathews, we have two of your children …

More In: Travel

Too Many Airline Passengers and Too Few Seats? Let’s Start the Bidding!

After That Infamous Video, Carriers Should Start Auctioning Spaces on Overbooked Flights

Last month, consumers around the world were disturbed by video showing a passenger being dragged off United Flight 3411 by at least three security guards.

I don’t need to add …

How the Passport Became an Improbable Symbol of American Identity

What Began as an Informal Means of Introduction Became the Ultimate Government-Sanctioned Authenticator

It was originally a European tradition, not ours. But in 1780, needing a more formal way to send former Continental Congressman Francis Dana from France to Holland, Benjamin Franklin …

Why We All Need to Leave the Country After This Election

Traveling Abroad Would Help Politicians and Voters Fix America’s Troubled Democracy

Now that the election is over, are you leaving the country? If not, you ought to reconsider.

I’m not kidding. Yes, a handful of our fellow Californians—prominent citizens from Samuel L. …

Why I Won’t Stop Flying EgyptAir

Despite the Recent Crash, the Airline Is as Endearing as the Country

“Yalla, go!” ordered an Egyptian girl behind me, pushing me into the security line mob.

Just 20 minutes before departure, the gate for a direct TunisAir flight from Cairo to …

Manifest Destiny, That Atrocious Ideal

A Wintertime Visit to a Onetime Nuclear Test Site Reveals the Lengths Americans Go to Own Whatever They Please

On the outskirts of Tularosa, New Mexico, I drove among sacred mountains. It was three days before Christmas, 2014, and it was over 70 degrees. With the A/C cranked, I …