Usa Travel Stories

2009 November 4 Leave USA Enter Haiti

I am in No Mans Land, I have checked out of the country of the USA and now I am waiting for my flight to Haiti to board.

Fort Lauderdale Airport - Wednesday, November 4, 2009
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I wish to thank all my loyal readers who voted in the first “Send Andy to a Country Poll.” Haiti and Cuba tied; I am on my way to Haiti. Please vote, and tell your friends to vote, and tell your children to have their school class vote.

Forward to you friends, help a homeless Hobo!

2009 November 4 Leave USA Enter Haiti

New York City Photos 2009

New York City Photos 2009

Here are a few glances at the city of New York as seen through the eyes of man from the state of Indiana.

This is a man walking around with a signboard advertising haircuts for 11 Dollars.

Fort Lauderdale Airport - Wednesday, November 4, 2009
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New York City street corner food vender.

Cute girl with a fur jacket, it looked real, but I was not able to touch.

I believe this is lettuce, but I am still not sure.

This is Freddy, I stopped and asked him where 3rd Street was and he pointed many blocks away, somehow we readjusted to 3rd Avenue and East 46 Street and he said right ahead. He walks around the downtown areas all day hand delivering package, this is the type of person I need to meet in every country.

Hey, I am not from New York, but I think that is the Empire State Building in the distance, the one I see in movies.

A girls walking off the “Zebra,” I think the United Nations should discuss people walking on the Zebra, I am sure it would save many lives. I for sure think cars kill more than Swine Flu or Aids, but what do I know…

I have arrived at my destination, rather a big world for a man from Indiana, then again after 85 countries, I guess this is city, I know cities.

I am there; Christine says to go the 23rd Floor.

I am early; I chased down a strong cup of coffee.

Pret "Just Made"
organic when we can always preservative free

Yes, this feel like my image of New York, an expensive coffee in a paper cup, then running to a meeting in a too tall building full of suits. I guess I forgot my suit.

I think “Pret” is a French word, this is good, I am in training for Haiti where they speak French, hmm, I bet this is not the image they are trying to associate with their coffee.

Wake up world, it is 5:41 am in the Fort Lauderdale Airport, I somehow manage to sleep in this airport, I am at gate H5 waiting to leave.

New York City Photos 2009

Airline Forces You to Check in Carry-On

The majority of travelers on USA Domestic flights appear to only have carry-on bags, few people checked their bags. There appears too many carry on bags for the plane overhead compartments.

I walked down to the luggage carousal to pick up my checked bag, there was only about eight people waiting, this is strange, what is up with this?

New York City - United States of America - Tuesday, November 3, 2009
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A very nice woman I met in the Chicago Airport was standing next to me at the luggage carousal. She said,
“They forced me to check my bag.”

She shows me the ticket, yep, she went all the way to the gate with her carry on bag, and because there was too many carry on bag there was not enough overhead compartment storage for all the bags. The airline forced here to check her bag, and subsequently she had to go to the baggage claim area and wait for her bag.

I think this 20 Dollar per bag fee could backfire as the majority of travelers in the USA opt for only the carry on option. I am sure, and in a way hope they enforce the rules, in my estimate, about 80 percent of all carry on bags are larger than 9 x 14 x 22 inches. Then again, there is not standard size, the new luggage debacle is coming, a great reality soap opera.

I enjoy listening to the indignation of travelers, ooh boy; this is going to be fun when the airlines start to enforce the rules already in place. I am quite sure few of the carry on bags are the correct size. I can hear it now,
“I purchased a carry on.”

Oops, nobody told you, that bag is too big for a carry one, did you measure it, here is a good link talking about the size of carry one, another way for airlines to squeeze you with rules.

Carry On Luggage Guidelines

I was wondering, if all the bags are in the top of the plane, does that mean these planes are flying top heavy? Maybe they will start doing exciting rolls as they flip over in flight.

Airline Forces You to Check in Carry On

New York Hotel versus Philippines Hotel

I am in a great Hotel in New York City, it cost about 127 dollars per night, and I asked myself
“What is the difference between this room, and my nice one in the Bauang, Philippines?”

Note - The Majority of Hotels in the Philippines are annoyingly bad, however the Bali Hai East in Bauang, La Union, Philippines was special.
Video of my Traveler Nest Hotel in

New York City - United States of America - Tuesday, November 3, 2009
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1. Bigger TV
2. Furniture is wood
3. Appliances, iron, hair dryer, ironing board.
4. Hangers in closet
5. More towels
6. Water pressure is better
7. Curtains will block out sun, heavy duty.
8. Light next to bed
9. Pictures on walls
10. Carpet
11. Clock


1. Swimming Pool outside my door.
2. Restaurant overlooking swimming pool.

It is rather humorous, there is so little difference between the two Hotels; it is obvious to me that the Philippines Hotel could be the same level of quality for less than 300 Dollars. However, somehow because of location this New York one cost 127 and the one in Bauang, Philippines cost me 12 Dollars per night. This New York Hotel chain has made better choices, they have designed the room to function or never disturb me, there are not many annoyances.

Truly sad, the 100-dollar difference in hotel prices is so small, in a way when I talk about my Travelers Nest, I am trying to explain how I convert a 12 Dollar room to a 120 Dollar room. Which room is better for living?

The Bauang, Philippines is better, the Hotel ambience is better, but in the end, the areas around this Hotel is a little bleak, nothing USA, it is close to La Guardia Airport, and that does imply, I will be leaving soon. I sometimes tell owners of tourist hotels,
“If a traveler stops in your hotel and stays more than a week your hotel is good, if people only stay one night, they vote with their feet.”

When a person says to me, they lived in a Hotel for a month, I listen, and there was something about the Hotel that was special.

New York Hotel versus Philippines Hotel

New York is My Country Too

I suppose I am feeling sentimental, I am going to leave the USA again tomorrow, for the last 11-12 years I have lived outside my country.

This is a beautiful view of a small pond between Orland and Angola, Indiana. It is a wonderful experience to see your own country with the filters off, somehow living in the USA made me ignore this pond. However, after too many years outside, I now can look at what is inside.

New York City - United States of America - Monday, November 2, 2009
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This is an Airplane in O'Hare International Airport, there were two French people standing in front, I said hello to them later, and told them welcome to America.
C’est Bon.

We had a conversation in French, and I learned how to pronounce Haiti.

I sat on a plane with a woman from Mindanao, Philippines, we talked about places like Hawaii, Las Vegas, and San Francisco where different waves of Filipinos settled.

I checked into the Hotel here in New York, it took all the willpower I could muster to not speak only Spanish.

Dos Mujeres des Puerto Rico
Un Hombre desde Colombia
Un otro, que yo no se.

This sign is completely in Spanish, I do not need to leave the USA to meet the world here in New York, City, I am in the center of the world.

I walked into a grocery, I asked, where is the Banco? Stopped into the Donut shop, and the two girls say they are from Bangladesh, I said,
“I spend the night in Dhaka on a flight from Bangkok, I was going to Katmandu, Nepal.

Barb Wire and Binder Twine, somehow that phrase sounds real to me, I enjoy saying it.

Alan is on the right, he is the father of Eric on the left, when I was young I worked with these two men, It is nice to say, I have complete and unending respect for these two men.

Barb Wire and Binder Twine, I suppose this is America, at least it is my America, it was nice to look at my country with the filters off, to see it as it is, not as I think it is. I am ready to board the plane to Haiti tomorrow, I know where I am from.

New York is My Country Too

South Bend to New York Flight 2009

I am about to get on my United flight from South Bend to Chicago, and tranfer to a New York City flight. I think I paid about 135 one-way when purchasing with

My shampoo and a few other liquids cost me 20 bucks in Baggage fee, I am going to do a complete reworking of my travelers bag strategy for airplanes.

I paid 155 for the plane ticket from South Bend to New York, not what is on the receipt. I am now carrying one less bag because I was not positive would allow me check two bags. Hmmm, maybe I can dump the liquids in New York and see if I can avoid the luggage fees. At least the were upfront on the fees, while did not deal with the issue.

South Bend Airport - United States of America - Monday, November 2, 2009
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I am lighter now, my two bags are carry on size, they do not count laptop bags. I could have carried it on, not paid the luggage fee if I off-loaded all my liquids. The USA airlines have more rules that are not utilized when flying international. Most countries on the planet are small; truly do not have many domestic flights. Therefore the Domestic flights semi treat you same as International flights. I am happy I do not travel domestic in the USA, I am always worried about losing my checked bag. I have had the bags misplaced by USA Airlines about four times in the last 12 years, and never outside. Every luggage problem started with a flight that began in the USA.

South Bend to New York Flight 2009

American Flag Patches Sewn on Backpack

Here are a couple of photos and a video explaining how to install USA Flags on a Traveler Backpack. Yesterday, I had American Flags patches sewn on to one my backpack. I am sure many people ask why?

We are supposed to have the stars pointing at our heart; I needed to buy two types of flags, a left and a right to have sewn on the bag, but at Army Surplus stores.

Orland, Indiana - United States of America - Friday, October 30, 2009
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I have installed two American Flags on the larger backpack with the stars facing my heart as I wear the bag. I needed to purchase two types of USA flags. I also put one on the camera and computer bag.

Best Reason
To meet the locals faster, by having the American Flags the locals can see that I am probably from the USA and speak English. If they speak English, they often come up and try to practice with me, or provide help.

Repellant to Angry-at-American People
This almost exclusively applies to Europeans; I never experience anger at me being an American in the under-developed countries. There are countries with strong feelings or angry at the USA. If they see the Flags, they would label me quickly a “Nationalist” or “Patriot” and assume I am a complete wanker. This helps me to avoid conversations with this type of person looking for an argument.

Meet Girls
Anyway, I look at it, the USA is the best passport to attract women in the developing world, and it is the citizenship-chasing passport of choice.

Do Not Screw with USA Warning
The world is corrupt, for example, Mexico is incredibly corrupt and their country would lose millions of not billions of tourist dollars if the USA stopped visiting. Government officials and locals often give the USA tourist special status, we get more the red carpet treatment and they try to ingratiate themselves more, they want the big American spenders. Overall, the governments of many countries instruct their citizens to not screw with the Americans.

I am American
I am proud to be from the USA, it has given me the freedom to earn enough money to travel and a passport that allows me to enter 99 percent of all countries almost without restrictions.

Translate my Situation or Problem
By having the Flag on my back, in a non-verbal way I can translate my situation to immigration, to locals, they know quickly the situation without speaking for example Chinese.

Prove it is OK
Many USA citizens are weak willed; they believe that having the USA Flag on the back will invite problems. Under this assumption, they wear Canadian Flags never learning it is truly safe, they validated their assumptions with no proof. Lying to people is one of the most dangerous acts a traveler can perform; the planet does not like liars. If you are afraid, do not put any flag on your bag and be honest, it is the wisest path.

Why not have the flag on the bag?

I am sure there is some country where it is a problem; I have not found the place in my 11 plus years and 85 countries of travel. I was in Iraq, which was zero problem. I would say the bigger problem is with the Travelers abroad from Europe, the not-so-educated bunch, sort of the Brits-Abroad bunch or the Euro-Trash, kind of the trailer trash of Europe. I normally do not travel mainstream tourist destinations where they go, I am going to Haiti in the next few days, and I will not encounter this type of person. In mainstream dread, tattoo, smoke a joint countries like Thailand or Guatemala are a bigger problem. Generally, they have to be brave enough to open their mouths; I am not accustomed to having people being disrespectful of my mother or my country in that order.


If you do not see a video here it is because you are reading by email, click here to see video.

I strongly advise you to stay home if you are too afraid to tell the truth, the world welcomes people they trust. I wonder what an immigration official would do if he or she saw a Canadian Flag on my back as I went through immigration at the border?

“You have a USA passport, why do you have a Canadian Flag?”
Honestly works great, if for a change you happened to try it.

American Flag Patches Sewn on Backpack

Around World in Toyota

Around World in Toyota

Nicolas Rapp a man born in France is going to drive a Toyota Land Cruiser around the world. My mother handed me a newspaper article about him to read that showed up in an Indiana Newspaper. (I am guessing a press release.)

Is he French or American, I am not sure, but he has a cigarette in his mouth, I am betting French is the dominate culture attitude. There is an overland trip idea to sleep on top of the SUV; I think he is erecting a tent in this photo.

Orland, Indiana - United States of America - November 1, 2009
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This is a photo I took in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia showing a look a like vehicle, I believe the search words you need to key in is “Overland” with if you want to learn about this genre of travel. These people had a website, and I wrote while I was in Ethiopia.

I was happy to see this map, an ironically I have been working with a Brit guy by the name of Ian to travel by car. I have marked on the map with black arrows my, or our proposed trip. I am thinking maybe of doing this in early March, the reason I got the International Drivers License the other day.

This is the TYPE car Ian and me are thinking about buying. The tentative plan is this, pay about 500-800 U.S. Dollars for this car, tint the windows, hope we can find one with AirCon and take off. I have been to Africa about five times and Ian has been an intermittent traveler for years. We both have many countries under our belt and would like to “Take the Piss.”
(British Slang for Winding up or making fun of people.)

Well, it is like this, we believe Travelers of this small planet exaggerate, so we can wind up the world, take the piss, and have some fun. And truly, I believe this is what you really want to know, do I truly need to spend 20,000 Dollars for a car, or can I do what make great sense, buy one and abandon it at the end of the trip, becoming car litter bugs.

Read about he is truly a good at getting press releases published, I often think the most important skill of wanna be travel writers is self promotion skills, in a way actual travel is irrelevant.

I guess Nick is asking for Donations, has a few sponsors, please somebody throw money at me and make me do this.

Around World in Toyota

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