Hug It Forward this holiday season with new HugTrain App- Train departs for its 6th annual U.S. tour December 28th

All aboard HugTrain, a Montreal-based social purpose startup, as it departs on Amtrak for its 6th annual U.S. tour to break down social isolation, spread holiday cheer, and provide emotional support. Once again, hugging it forward but this time with the launch of the brand new HugTrain app, available soon on Android and iOS.

Since 2009, Arie Moyal, the founder and heart and soul of HugTrain has traveled more than the equivalent of twice around the world, hugged thousands of people and uplift at least as many when his message went viral. “Small changes create big shifts,”Arie Moyal said, as he embarks on the sixth annual U.S. HugTrain tour, “And I want to put the power to make small those changes in the hands of others which is why we decided to launch the app.”

From the beginning Arie had a vision of what HugTrain could become.  In 2009, Arie embarked on this journey of self-acceptance and hugged it forward almost by accident. “I was moving to London and had two weeks free so I decided to take the train and explore the U.S.,” he said.” Around then a woman I knew cancelled her Global Hug Tour. And since my trip was taking place during the holidays, I decided to make it valuable to others by offering free hugs and seeing what came out of it, and here we are on trip #6 across America.”

” I saw an opportunity to make a difference through something small and I took it. And that’s the point of the journey and of the app, I  want to inspire others to break social isolation in their way.”

Sadly on the second year, the suicide of a friend gave it a deeper meaning and its true social purpose. Arie’s understanding evolved and he became aware of how arduous and lonely the holiday season is for so many people. The self-appointed goodwill ambassador for mental wellness decided to increase awareness. But how? Tapping into his love of traveling via the railroad and, using his limited resources, with the help of close friends and volunteers from around the world, he made HugTrain a holiday tradition.

“Financial difficulties, family issues, seasonal affective disorder and social isolation means that the holidays are particularly stressful for many of us,” said HugTrain founder, Arié Moyal.

Even though, HugTrain remains a startup with a small team and a big heart, in the past year it has grown leaps and bounds.

“2014 has been a big year for HugTrain. We have been acquired. An app is in development, and we’ve just finished shooting a documentary,” said Arie.

The documentary shot by Sébastien De Gulne during Hug Train’s Canadian tour is scheduled to be released in 2015.

You know that warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you hug? Well, it is based on science.

The benefits of hugging run deep. It literally brings people together. Hugging benefits everyone, every day under any circumstances.

The simple act of embracing someone releases oxytocin, also known as “the cuddle hormone”, elevating good feelings. In a 2007 study, oxytocin has also been linked to social bonding and feeling of generosity. The act of hugging lays the biological foundation and structure for connecting to other people.

Furthermore, Doctor Yoel Moyal, founder of the Clinique Revolution du Plateau and Arie’s brother, has acquired the social purpose startup. Doctor Moyal embarked on this journey motivated by a deep commitment to developing,” Medtech that heals and as well to address social isolation.” Dr Moyal prescribes 8 hugs a day to his patients.

This holiday season, Hug it forward. Download the app.

Meet up with Arie at any of the following stops. Special stop in San Francisco on December 30 at Richmond train station or the Golden Gate Bridge on the 31st.

ITINERARY

 

Date

Train Number

Departure City

Departure Time

Arrival City

Arrival Time

Layover

12/28/2014

351

Detroit

6:28

Chicago

10:47

4h13

 

3

Chicago

15:00

     
 

3

   

Kansas City

 

22:11 – 22:45

12/29/2014

3

   

Albuquerque

 

15:55 – 16:45

12/30/2014

3

   

Los Angeles

8:15

1h30

 

5815 BUS

Los Angeles

10:45

Bakersfield

13:05

15m

 

715

Bakersfield

13:20

Richmond

18:53

2 nights

12/31/2014

 

NYE Fireworks from the Golden Gate Bridge

     

23:30-0:30

1/1/2015

BUS

SF Ferry Building

21:10

Emeryville

21:45

19m

 

14

Emeryville

22:04

     

1/2/2015

14

   

Portland

15:32

3 nights

1/3/2015

           

1/4/2015

           

1/5/2015

516

Portland

14:40

Seattle

18:30

1 night

1/6/2015

8

Seattle

13:40

     

1/7/2015

8

         

1/8/2015

8

   

Chicago

15:55

2 nights

1/9/2015

           

1/10/2015

48

Chicago

21:30

     

1/11/2015

48

   

New York City

18:23

1 night (?)

1/12/2015

           

1/13/2015

 

New York City

 

Montreal