Well really first & foremost I don’t mind the extra time that Amtrak takes because I enjoy the sightseeing.
Easy to do as it travels at SEE level and has big windows.
Bad stuff happens in this world. Usually not when you are nearby.
Very long distance a good idea to get a room. You do not have to have a room every night if you have budget concerns.
The advantage of the long distance train is you can get up from your seat or leave your room and walk around.
Up to you if you want to socialize with other travellers. They might be from anywhere in the world.
Take a meal in the dining car and very a very good meal cooked for you in the galley. Not a large menu but very well made.
Take a break in the lounge car or cafe car for a snack and enjoy the view. The seats are comfortable and larger than most plane seats.
You DO NOT need to just stay on train for days and days at a time. You can book a stop for a day or two along the way to experience places of interest to you.
For the First adventure suggest you look at some of the packages Amtrak has created. You can make your own.
Be aware that for part of the journey it is dark out and the view not so great. You can use some of that time for sleeping or just socializing with others in the lounge or the next seat.
It is a little more fun if you have a travel companion for at least part of it. A chess board a backgammon board might allow you to play with someone that you cannot speak their language. A deck of cards many games can be played. Bridge is popular around the world.
The longer overnight trains are much different. It can seem expensive for a room at first but it is a moving small hotel room that has a changing view.
This video has a good tour of a train end to end.
You DO NOT need to take the same route in both directions many make a circle tour to see more places.
BOOK AHEAD the trains do fill up in summer and other peak travel times.
WINTER journey can have weather issues but the train often can go when other stuff cannot.
You could if you want to travel to Canada on the Train. There is a special train there with great scenery and it just travels in the daytime. The train stops for the night and you sleep in a nearby hotel.
It is a FIRST CLASS train. It sells out months in advance. Rated one of the best Train trips in the world.
Acela First class is just a short ride of a few hours.
It is a huge country the view from the Airplane window is faster. The train adventure is an adventure. Enjoy the ride.