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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Musings - On the U.S.A.

While planning our Atlantic crossing, I find myself thinking back over our last five months in the United States.  As some of you know, our original plan was to leave from California and head directly to Europe but we paused and thought, “Hmmm, having never done this before, maybe we should stay in the US for a bit and see how it goes.”  So we set off and discovered a ton about ourselves and RV’ing but, surprisingly, even more about this country that we have called home for years.  Ok, decades.

First of all, it is gigantic and gorgeous and so very varied.  Due to the sheer size of the states, the geography changes slowly.   The people, though similar in their welcoming attitude, seem to share a defining characteristic state by state:  From the naturally healthy people in Colorado; to the Polartec-loving people in Washington; and down to the fiercely independent but extremely hospitable people of Texas; they all had one thing in common:  They were open to a complete stranger walking up to them and asking questions.

What struck me the most was how employed everyone is.  Like most Americans, we watched too much T.V. prior to our departure (a habit I do not miss at all particularly when the news bombards you with the “crisis in unemployment” twenty-four hours a day.)   But let me tell you, driving through the small towns and larger cities, you see Americans at work.  Most are working for someone else but a great number of them are working for themselves.  The sole-proprietor might be struggling but they are still out there running grocery, clothing and food stores, or businesses that keep America moving forward.  Contrary to my previous belief, the entire country does not shop exclusively at Walmart, Starbucks and the Gap.   (I, for one, have shopped more often at Walmart in the last five months than I ever did in my entire life.   But when pulling your 19’ home behind you, the large parking lots and one-stop shopping appear like an oasis.)

So off we go to discovery new countries!  The U.K. is first then I imagine we’ll be heading south as soon as possible, perhaps coming back up to Paris for Springtime.  Wow, how fortunate are we?