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Why not in America?

By teamkrejados ( Updated: 2014-12-03 18:25

I am a self-professed vagabond. If I could, I would make a life out of traveling: seeing and experiencing the new, the strange, the colossal and the minuscule, the... everything. I waited a long time to discover this about myself and even longer to act on it.

I've been to at least 20 cities in the four years I've lived in China and loved every bit of it. The trains, the discovering, the hotels, the people and the food. I can't describe the feeling of anticipation and excitement that fills me upon holding a train ticket for someplace I've never been. As I crawl into my bunk on the sleeper coach, thought crosses my mind: why did I wait so long to do something I love to do?

And why didn't I do it in America?

America: the dream destination of millions in China. America, with her rolling plains, soaring mountains and stark canyons, her wilderness and waters. There is so much to see and do and experience in America. I lived there long enough: more than a quarter century. Except for one time – a two-week sojourn, alone in the Chihuahuan desert, I never set out simply to see what there is to see and do what there is to do.

Wouldn't you ask yourself 'why', if you were me?

In respect to travel, China is vastly different than America. Here, a train ticket can take you just about anywhere in the country. Add a long distance bus fare to that and you just might get to the farther reaches. In America there are trains, too. Their range is limited – up and down the east or west coast, and limited passage throughout the middle states, and they are expensive! It is actually cheaper to fly than to take a train. By flying you can get pretty much anywhere.

What is flying for this vagabond? True, I get where I want/need to go quickly, but I miss the entire travel experience by making the journey several thousand feet in the air. I can positively attest that Death Valley is stupendous from above, but equally strongly aver that it is even more magnificent when driving through it.

Besides flying, driving is the No 1 mode of long distance transportation in America. That is not a bad thing, I assure you. The privacy and privilege of piloting your own, comfortable vehicle. You can stop and start when and where you want. You can drive fast, if you so desire – and can pay for the ticket, should you get nabbed. I enjoy long-distance driving. Several times I've criss-crossed the country, usually to a visit someone or in order to attend a specific event. Because that is how my life was, in America.

I am the luckiest vagabond in the world! I have a dream job that affords me more than enough money for my needs, and my bare bones schedule – teaching only about six hours a week gives me plenty of time to pop off here and there. In America, time was in short supply for me. I worked sometimes more than 60 hours per week, but even with the standard 40-hour/week schedule, this seemingly aimless wandering I enjoy now was impossible. I had to see to my wardrobe being work ready and take care of my house. I had to grocery shop and spend time with my friends. I had to earn my college degree and that only after raising my children.

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