This Train Trip Hits Every Corner of America in a Week for Less Than $1000

A railroad used by the Amtrak trains in Central California.
A railroad used by the Amtrak trains in Central California.
GaryKavanagh/iStock via Getty Images

If the thought of sitting in traffic or going through airport security stresses you out, consider taking a train for your next vacation. It isn't the fastest way to travel in 2020, but with rail routes winding through some of the most scenic parts of the country, it's one of the more relaxing options. And you don't have to choose a single destination for your next trip: This map makes a vacation out of the train ride itself by taking you on a full loop around the contiguous U.S., Travel + Leisure reports.

The route, devised by Wanderu, passes through seven states and only takes a week and less than $1000 to complete. The first leg of the journey starts in Boston and takes you through New England and the Mid-Atlantic to Washington, D.C. in about eight hours. From there, the rides get much longer. The Amtrak Crescent line travels from D.C. to New Orleans in 26 hours, and the Amtrak Sunset Limited goes from the Big Easy to Los Angeles in a little under 47 hours. The second half of the excursion includes rides to Seattle; Chicago; Cleveland; and Albany, New York, before landing back in Boston where the whole trip began.

Map of train loop around U.S.
Wanderu's train loop around the United States.
Wanderu

Riders can personalize the route and take extended stops to explore the cities that interest them, but if time is limited, the whole journey can be done in seven days, four hours, and 39 minutes. If you do choose to ride the route straight through, we recommend packing a seat cushion.

You can find a breakdown of each leg of the journey and their costs at Wanderu.com. And if you're still not sold on train travel, these perks may convince you otherwise.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

The ChopBox Smart Cutting Board Has a Food Scale, Timer, and Knife Sharper Built Right Into It

ChopBox
ChopBox

When it comes to furnishing your kitchen with all of the appliances necessary to cook night in and night out, you’ll probably find yourself running out of counter space in a hurry. The ChopBox, which is available on Indiegogo and dubs itself “The World’s First Smart Cutting Board,” looks to fix that by cramming a bunch of kitchen necessities right into one cutting board.

In addition to giving you a knife-resistant bamboo surface to slice and dice on, the ChopBox features a built-in digital scale that weighs up to 6.6 pounds of food, a nine-hour kitchen timer, and two knife sharpeners. It also sports a groove on its surface to catch any liquid runoff that may be produced by the food and has a second pull-out cutting board that doubles as a serving tray.

There’s a 254nm UVC light featured on the board, which the company says “is guaranteed to kill 99.99% of germs and bacteria" after a minute of exposure. If you’re more of a traditionalist when it comes to cleanliness, the ChopBox is completely waterproof (but not dishwasher-safe) so you can wash and scrub to your heart’s content without worry. 

According to the company, a single one-hour charge will give you 30 days of battery life, and can be recharged through a Micro USB port.

The ChopBox reached its $10,000 crowdfunding goal just 10 minutes after launching its campaign, but you can still contribute at different tiers. Once it’s officially released, the ChopBox will retail for $200, but you can get one for $100 if you pledge now. You can purchase the ChopBox on Indiegogo here.

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Instead of Taco Tuesday, Sweden Celebrates Taco Friday (or Taco Fredag)

ptpower, iStock via Getty Images
ptpower, iStock via Getty Images

If you think Swedish cuisine is limited to meatballs and herring, you've never celebrated Fredagsmys—the Swedish version of Taco Tuesday. The day, which translates to "cozy Fridays," is a chance for Swedes to get together with loved ones and eat comfort food at the end of a long week. And instead of indulging in more traditional Swedish fare, the Fredagsmys cuisine of choice is Tex-Mex.

Fredagsmys takes the already-Americanized taco and puts a Swedish spin on it. On Taco Fredag (Taco Friday), ingredients like tortillas, ground meat, peppers, and tomatoes are laid out smörgåsbord-style. The spread may also include some toppings that are rarely served with tacos outside of Scandinavia, such as yogurt, cucumber, peanuts, and pineapple. After assembling their meal, diners enjoy it in a cozy spot in front of the TV, ideally surrounded by pillows and candles.

The Swedish tradition of starting the weekend with a taco feast has only been around for a couple of decades. In the 1990s, the Swedish potato chip company OLW introduced the slogan “Now it’s cozy Friday time” into the national lexicon. Old El Paso capitalized on this concept with its own ad campaign showing Swedes how to assemble tacos at home. The Swedish spice company Santa Maria noticed the emerging trend and further popularized the idea of eating tacos on Fridays in its TV advertisements.

Tacos may be the food that's most closely associated with Fredagsmys today, but any quick junk food is appropriate for the occasion. Burgers and pizza are also popular items, as are candy, chips, and popcorn. The meal makes up just one part of the night: Settling in on the couch in pajamas to watch TV with loved ones is just as important as the food.

Making time for comforting indoor activities is a necessity in Sweden, where the weather is harsh and daylight is scarce for much of the year. The Danish do something similar with hygge, although tacos aren't an explicit part of that tradition.