Landed a new job in Nebraska in a small town called Whitman on a homestead. This time Barb and Norm are hosting us. They are picking us up in Omaha. To get there we booked a train ride from Washington DC to Omaha via Chicago….. it will only take us 37 hours to get there….. wiiiieeeeeeee:-)
No smoking of course so it's a bit of a challenge….. I did find a German guy on the train who is just as big of a smoker as I am and between stops we are getting of the train to do some serious smoking… I know, pathetic but hey… I'm an addict and not afraid to own up to that.
I've got my playlist and laptop out and started typing to indulge you guys with some new insights on our blog…… feel free to drop us a line after you've read this.
Can't tell how much I've travelled through the US. I travelled from north to south and from coast to coast over the years. Never travelled the way I'm traveling now though which puts me in a position to meet loads of people but also experience the way that they live, what their believes are and how they feel about their country and the world. This gives me a totally new perspective. Don't know if its correct and you don't have to agree but it's the way that I feel and how I experience everything that I encounter.
When I think back it's probably On the road by Jack Kerouac that was my first introduction to roadtrippin' in the states which gave me the hunger for traveling this country. I was in my teens but the book got to me. For those of you who don't know this classic story…. It concerns the travels of Sal Paradise, who is actually Jack Kerouac. He wrote the book as if it's one story, there are no chapters. It's set against the back of the beatnik generation in the fifties before the hippies….. a bit more of a hunger for understanding life, how you want to live your life and what's expected of you wrapped in poetry and literature then love, peace and understanding in the sixties but it has similarities to one and other in both their own unique way.….. It's a good read, try it.
Since then progress has been made and the way I'm traveling now I certainly can't compare with the travels of Sal Paradise but somehow there seems to have been a point that progress stopped in America. This country has had so many phases that brought progress, from the gold rush to the industrial revolution. This country grew and developed very fast and brought progress not only to themselves but to the world. I don't know if it stopped but it seems so to me.
On this trip someone told me . "We Americans have the right to freedom, free speech and to bear arms. We also have the right to be stupid." He wasn't far of. Man oh man…… the things we encounter. I'll give you one example….. a couple of weeks back there was a new moon. When there's a new moon you can't see it at night. The upside however is that you get really bright stars at night. So one guy says….. I haven't seen the moon in a couple of nights I think NASA stole the moon?????? Excuse me? Come again? I'll tell you that guy was serious about his statement. After a couple of nights the moon was visible again and a friend texted him…. Hey, the NASA put the moon back in the sky! He didn't reply. I'm not making this stuff up, this is really happening. I wonder if back home we are the same because English is not my native tongue I have to listen more carefully than back home so judge for yourselves.
In some ways the simplicity of some things are beautiful within themselves and we can learn from that. On the other hand….. sometimes it seems that they don't have a mind of their own and need to be told everything. Things that are obvious to us…. That your coffee is hot, that it's not a good idea to put your hand in a washing machine when it's operating, don't jump out of a moving train….. everything has a sign which says what to do or not….. very logical things or situations and in a normal world you would be quite capable to decide for yourself what to do in a certain situation. I can hardly buy a tube of toothpaste in the supermarket, there are so many warnings on there what not to do with it that I can't read if I put toothpaste in my cart or a tube of mayonnaise. I mean…. Is al logic gone? Aren't we able to think for ourselves?
Or is it plain laziness and a consequence of the world we live in and is Holland not far behind? Everyone has an IPhone or a MacBook over here but trust me….. there are also people who are working their phone on a dirt floor with chickens running through their living room. On the other hand… this may strike me as a bit odd but when they are happy living the way they live who am I to judge or have an opinion? Most people and businesses are happy when everything works and you can take that literally…. It has to work/be functional and it doesn't have to be pretty. Need an extra piece of counter in your kitchen? Just take a piece that fits. It doesn't have to match but just has to work.
When we booked our Amtrak tickets, you can do that online but we got our tickets at a train station, they give you a printed boarding card with a departure time and a train number. When we boarded the train this morning we had to stand in line and walk up to the first door of the train and we were told which train compartment we could board. Al the seats have numbers but they don't use them…. Instead there are 4 to 5 conductors on a train asking each passenger where they are headed and handwriting a card with your destination on it and put it in the luggage rack above your head…. What's up with that? Just give everybody a compartment and seat number when they buy their ticket and be done with it. When it got dark outside the lights in the train compartments above the aisle one by one were covered with a small carton ticket so the lights dimmed? I mean…. It's 2018 people……
People behave in a different manner to. For instance in the train or bus everybody is their own island. The other passengers just don't exist. They talk loudly on their phones as if there's no tomorrow, watch movies without headphones, eat as if their lives depended on it and so on but on the other hand….. we meet people who go out of their way to help us. Pick you up 2 hours from their home at a bus stop just so you are able to get to their home and help them out. When they open their home for you they really do. You meet the family, engage in their social lives, share their meals, hear their history and they are very curious about our lives and the way we do things. They honestly are but you'll soon notice that there are a lot of thing they can't comprehend. Europe is just too far away for them. For instance…… we were discussing a drug problem they have and I just told the guy that I'm from Holland/The Netherlands….. so, he asked me….. do you also have a drug problem and do they smuggle the drugs also via Mexico to Holland? I just told him yes, and no.
America always got advertised as the country where dreams can come true. With hard work you can accomplish everything… the American dream. I'll bet it still exists and a lot is possible but also at this side of the ocean they are getting swamped in rules, regulations and politics. Don't get me started on politics…… It seems that nobody voted for Trump but he is in the big seat isn't he? So how did he get there? A lot of people oppose of him now and I honestly don't blame them but why didn't you do some more research before you voted or asked questions? I guess it's the same everywhere you travel. The only thing you can do is create a life you're happy with, with the people you love. If you check materialism at the door, are willing to learn and respect one and other. You're almost there….. Just hop on the train with us and you're in for a hell of a ride. Every night before I fall asleep I think to myself…. Why did I wait so long to pack my bag and just head of?
Toos Ha, Jane lang verhaal. Goed voor mijn hopeloze Engels ;). Mijn oudste zoon heeft een paar jaar geleden, rond zijn 20ste, eens voorgesteld om alle verbodsbordjes weg te halen. Dan is het gauw afgelopen met niet denkende individuen, natuurlijke selectie. Er is natuurlijk van alles op af te dingen, maar wellicht gaan meer mensen hun gezonde verstand gebruiken. Veel plezier bij Barb & Norm
Barbara Genieten mop!
Ellen Hoi Jane, Ik ben even flink aan het bijlezen, maar dit is wel een mooi stuk. Raar hoe mensen soms naar de wereld kijken en hoe logica wel (of juist niet) werkt. Je vermaakt je daar erg goed zo te lezen! Houden zo en ik zal verder gaan lezen, want je post veel en vaak. Erg leuk! Geniet ervan!
Wouter van Gurp Hee Jane. Waar blijft de volgende update?:D Ik zie het wel verschijnen...