17: Putting Ideas in Motion with Patrick Dowd (Millennial Train Project)

Can you imagine being transported to a 1950’s rail car to travel across the country, discounting from the pull of modern day demands? One pioneering nonprofit founder is recreating that exact experience to incubate young innovators as they push the boundaries on what they can accomplish.
patrickPatrick Dowd, founder of Millennial Train Project, believes that often times it is more than the destination. In fact, he is so committed to the idea of embracing the journey he hosts an annual train ride for changemakers to crowdfund their way across the country.
It’s a journey of mentorship, friendship, exploration, self-discovery and more. Yes, it includes laughter, good times and a lot of train puns.
While I have never enjoyed the luxury of traveling the United States by train, exploring the Italian countryside by rail was a unique experience. I can only imagine the transformative experience of touring America in a vintage boxcar, engaging with likeminded individuals and connecting with leaders and communities around the nation.
It’s not just the destination. It’s about the journey through geographies of innovation. And with this journey, 25 changemakers are able to shape the tracks while enjoying the ride.
Listen in to my interview with founder Partick Dowd and hear how he went from asking the question “At what point does technological advancement impact the environment?” to “How can a cross country train ride transform millennials?”


Sometimes the worst thing that can happen is the best thing that can happen.

Memorable Moments

  • “On the journey I felt like I was really myself. And I loved who I was.”
  • “Building a community of people behind your ideas are what gets you on board.”
  • “Not identifying by where they are from, but by the change they want to make.“

Recommended Reading

How to Make a Positive Impact

  •  Encourage some else. Encourage their ideas. Help someone else who is struggling.

Connect with the Millennial Train Project