Opinion / China Dream in expats' eyes

Why not in America?

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

Please don't misunderstand: I'm not blaming my kids for holding me back from my travels. They are in fact blameless through and through. They did not ask to be brought into this world. The very least I could do is wait until they were successfully launched into their lives before I began mine.

And then there is the financial aspect to consider. No matter how you slice it, travel in America is expensive. Even the poorest hotels generally go for no less than $45 per night, and good luck finding those prices along a highway. Gas, while cheaper than anywhere else in the world, still comprises perhaps the largest chunk of a traveler's budget. Eating on the road can be pricey, too. A truck stop or diner meal will run about $12-$15 just for a sandwich and fries. The quality of that food might be questionable, leading you to have to pull into one rest stop after another.

The Eisenhower Interstate system is a marvel! It is easy to navigate: even numbers run east-west and odd numbers north-south. Highway number designations increase the further a traveler heads west, with the exception of Highways Nos 1 and 95: No 1 runs down the west coast and No 95 down the east coast. Rest stops are themed to the region: adobe constructions in the desert, saltboxes in the northwest and cedar or pine constructions along the southern routes.

I preferred driving at night, when traffic was lighter and temperatures cooler. In doing so I missed what probably should have been seen during the day. If I had been traveling freely, in the spirit I now travel in, I would have most likely made the most of the daylight and pulled in to every attraction (I could afford). Can't really berate myself, though. Most of my driving for travel was mission-bound: visiting friends and family, and attending weddings and graduations.

The one time I did drive by day was my two weeks in the desert. No cell phone towers, no conference calls, no one else but me. Hour after hour, mile by mile I enjoyed the vast nothingness and the empty road. I don't think I talked with more than 20 people during that entire time, most of them being campground managers – no motels for me. I had brought my food, so I didn't need to shop for anything.

That trip completely changed me. In the middle of that vast nowhere I was forced to realize how small and defenseless I really am. All the meetings, the demands for my time or expertise at work, social constraints, all appearances... none of that mattered to the deer that nosed her way through the brambles I camped by and stood three meters away, looking at me. Silent and still, I returned her gaze. We communed at sunrise, oblivious to the world around us. After she left I broke camp, loaded up the car and drove on, windows down for the wind to swirl around me.

It is that feeling of peace, of not being in control or even having to be in control that assails me every time I hit the rails to a place I've never been in China. I don't conduct the train. I'm not in charge of anyone or anything and I have no expectations of my destination. I only have myself to look out for, and I'm no more important than anything else I might encounter along my way.

Maybe it takes being in timeless, beautiful China where my time is free and all my defenses are down to allow myself to be a true vagabond.  

The original blog is:

Previous Page 1 2 Next Page

Most Viewed Today's Top News