I have visited 90 countries looking for the best, and I need to do the same in the USA.
I admit it, I am bored to death in the USA...Why? Because in a way my motives for traveling the USA were warped. I have just a small dream of traveling, not a big one, in a way, the USA is for "ME" the most boring place on the planet. Why? Because, for one thing, I made a road trip around the USA at age 22, I have been in at least 40 of the states in the USA already, there is nothing new.
The bad part of this USA Road Trip plan...
I am business owner, and Google is severely punishing my business because I do not write about the USA. The USA is very insulated, it does not really want to know about the rest of the planet, the average American wants to say, America is best, and all the rest is not good. This is the same for Google, they mimic the culture of America, any Internet site talking about the rest of the planet is not going to do as well. Google want to sell American Advertising, and has the other countries on the back shelf. Therefore, if I write about the USA, I can make more money, it sort of sucks.
I am in maybe violating the prime directive of travel.... aagh.
What is amazing about the USA?
I walked into a travel rest area as I entered the state of Michigan the other day, and there was at least 1000 different brochures. It was amazing how many places in Michigan want you to come visit, everyone there believe there is something special, in the end, nothing is obviously special.
I would think that Detroit Michigan is amazing, it is the story of Henry Ford.
I will change my goals for the USA.
I am going to search for what is amazing, and not what is boring. There is many things that are amazing, for example NASA, or the surf beaches of southern California. Indiana is amazing, it has the best quality of life for a family on planet earth for the least amount of money, now listen, I said "Family," not young and drunk, that may be New Orleans or California.
I want to see the Redwoods of California.
Well, what I need to do, is go see what is amazing, or I am going to go nuts.
What is amazing about the people of the USA is their insane belief they are special, truly all people on the planet are almost the same, yet American have a delusional belief each of our lives is special. Yes, it is special to me, but to try to make it more is childish.
It is not good to celebrate people who are average, it is dysfunctional, but to celebrate the amazing is insightful.
Take the 500 year view, what will be amazing to the future people?
To me, touring one of the huge steel making plants in that part of the country would be amazing.
America has some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. May I suggest a national park tour of Utah! I'm a traveler I've only been to a third of the countries that you have, but hands down Utah is one of the most beautiful places I've seen in the world. Just try not to get too uptight about their cultural differences...although that could make for some interesting blog posts :)
Here is my list Andy, its very specific.. all the details make a huge difference.
1. Seek out and attend an American Motorcycle Association 1/2 mile or 1 mile pro flat track race..its a national circuit. Buy a ticket but don't sit in the stands, walk around and stand next to fence... the roar, spectacle speed, skill and danger will have chills running up your spine for days. A night race is most dramatic. These are run on dirt horse tracks. You will not regret it.
2. Ride the NYC subways between 10 pm and 4 am.. alone and at risk. One hair raising arrival at the WTC 15 years ago is still thrilling to remember as the train rounded its final curve and slammed on its brakes and slid and screeched in a cloud of blue smoke and ozone to the end of the line. It was a long dark grungy walk to the basement of the WTC from there, inside people eating pizza at the Saborro's there. It has to be alone though, with most places deserted. A place where one is truly alone inside the guts of a giant uncaring machine that is new york city.
3. The midnight ferry boat from San Francisco to Oakland under the Bay bridge.. with the salt water spray all over the stern, and the giant turbines roaring, looking up at the underside of bridge.. ideally alone again..standing on the back of the boat and inside noticing the worn walls and benches and the impersonalality of the extreme aspects of banal life, drunks mixed with tired executives and gang bangers and filth... contrasted to the most spectacular sense adventure, with the city lights and fog horns one can have.
4. The Alcatraz prison tour . taking a tour boat to the island.. and walking the cells of the famous prisoners, we have all read about, and seeing the bullet holes in the walls and blast marks still in place from previous riots...and sitting at the stainless steel tables in their small dining room...and walking the exercise yard in the foot steps of some of the most infamous criminals the US had to offer.. not spectacular in many ways, its a tourist thing now..but the history and feel if you walk it alone with your thoughts, the huge rail mounted cannons are still in place from a time when it was a military island guarding the harbor..it will be worth the trip if you are planning to be in the SF bay area... its a narrated tour with a tape recorder and head set.
6. The ghost towns of the old west if you happen on them. maybe not spectacular but it moves me. I was in Laredo Texas, a few years back.. amazingly unrestored and unattended board buildings and board walk still in place, ignored, some of the windows broken and a curtain blowing out onto the balcony where the ladies of the night stood to greet the cowboys... those sorts of juxtapositions simply amaze me.
The west coast from Big Sur north is worth the trip, clear to Canada... its only occasionally spectacular though...the redwoods would be best if you stayed there and camped at various places for a few weeks to soak up all that super oxygenated air. There is no shortage of aging and new 'hippy' operated co-ops along the coast... those would be good places to have conversation. Life in the US however as you have probably noticed has gone commercial, the people too..it can be desolate thats why i prefer the adventurous aspects of living.
A former friend of mine from Aruba (by acquaintance) speaks 5 languages fluently, has Dutch Citizenship and has traveled and seen much of Europe. After spending a couple of years traveling the U.S. as part of a USDA team that reexamined federal nutritional guidelines and evolving population trends, he had seen so much of our beloved country. The thing I remember most was his statement that there was so much to see right here in the U.S.A. and one could spend a lifetime here in our country and still not discover all of its great treasures. He followed by saying that in his mind there was not much reason for an American to travel outside his own country. There was so much right here to see. This surprised me coming from gentleman who had traveled and seen much of Europe.
I agree with you Andy . Boring, lots of it is just plain boring.Filled with strip malls and and tourist traps . On the other hand there are many unsung heroes doing a good job at life with out a single drop of praise . You have covered many miles and passed all those people quietly doing great things . I suggest you stop wasting time with buildings and things like that and look for the most interesting or colourful characters just living their lives in the service of others . Those are the treasures of America .Sit on a few porches and swap a few stories and collect some memories. I would try real hard to meet at least one great person a day .To heck with those who talk to you because they have something to sell. I am stuck here in New Mexico a real arm pit of a place I read your stuff every time you post ,frankly it don't sound like you are having much fun . You drove all those miles and not one story of sitting on a porch hearing some great music and sharing a lemonade . Not a mention of a single veteran a barbecue or a barn dance.No pictures or videos of a single street musician. Frankly sir you went to a buffet and ate the paper plate and missed all the rest . LOL Shame on you ! After seeing some of the stories in the news here lately you have some annoyances surely we all do but you dont have a single problem worth mentioning . Check out the story of the 24 year old woman who stopped on the side of the road for a little fun and ended up losing her leg ,her foot and both her hands . Kind of hard to bitch about your problems after hearing about hers . You dont really have a story worth telling her do you ? My advice is to start having some fun, stop complaining or park the van and just get stupid drunk because you are wasting gas going on the way you are . This is a stiff kick in the pants friend . Wake up !!!!!!
Mainstream tourism is about the extremely boring, the normal tourist wants to see England and Paris, France. I have been to both, but boring in comparison to Ivory Coast or Cambodia. I am an extreme adventure traveler, I have been to Iraq. If I want to make the mainstream American happy, I write about Disneyland, a place I have never been, and is amazing, but again mainstream money maker writing. I am very frustrated with Google, they have stopped giving information that is needed, and are only allowing mainstream money making information to be found. If I write about the amazing part of America, it is not what tourist are buying. For example what is amazing about Indiana is the amount of water for farming here, then how we can have a house here for 125,000 that is exactly the same as house in California for 750,000. The quality of where we sleep is extremely high for the amount of money we pay. But, it is very Christan, and if you want to have pink hair, talk about anarchy, you are in the wrong state for fun, you need to go to California. I cannot make big money writign about that, and Google will make sure I do not.
A note for Bluesman.... Yes there are hero's in america leading a quiet life...I've met maybe a few too many, soaking slowly into the carpeting... and that is interesting, and one can find cause for praise. And thats fine. Your remark about the paper plate was a hoot. Some of us are spoiled for the mundane however, we simply must operate on the edge, until we get too old to rock at least..even then the mundane sickens us. Literally, or worse.. its mind shredding torture. We seek escape from that at all costs and by any means. We want to live with the throttle wide open, in a sideways drift, roosting dirt into the stands under the stadium lights sensing every nuance of the horsepower under us and smelling the nitro methane in the air... we want to experience the ambulance rides that result from our errors. We find few others to have meaningful conversation with, but when it happens, as we magically find each other, its conversation that resolves both parties to a new level. We say it all in those conversations that can go on for hours.. then its all said. we have arrived and we part... we are not interested in soaking into the carpet, even though that can happen to us as well.... our memories though, and who we actually are, that keeps flying. We are not part of the mundane, and the mundane can never be part of us... those are two entirely different universes. each with its own separate set of rewards, and... liabilities.