I spent 15 minutes choosing the header image for this page, and I think that sums up how I feel about the USA. When searching for an image, I typed ‘American culture’ into Google. I saw Native American art, flags, guns, food, sports, the military, politicians, vast landscapes, highways, and more. That’s why it’s hard to sum America up. I feel as though there are a thousand different ideas about what America is, and what the nation’s values are. In a nation so vast, it’s not really surprising.
America is a new country, a nation born of immigrants, spread across thousands of miles of forest, desert, mountains, lakes, salt flats and bayous , cities stacked with glittering penthouses, leafy suburbia and abject skid row poverty. Whatever the American dream was, whether it was ever a reality, or if it was an ideal that was never quite achieved, remains a mystery to me. It’s a fascinating country, at times wonderful and inspiring, at times intimidating and alien.
In 2014, I spent 3 weeks travelling across the USA in a mini tour van with 12 other backpackers. We travelled from LA to San Francisco, and from there headed east through southern states, all the way to New York via Yosemite, Death Valley, Las Vegas,the Grand Canyon, Bishop, Monument Valley, Santa Fe, San Antonio, New Orleans, Memphis, Nashville, Washington, and more. It’s safe to say I experienced some cool shit. I felt like I’d seen a hell of lot after my trip, but I realise now that I’d only scratched the surface.
There’s a few places on my list that I intend to visit first, but, whether its next year or next decade, I will be returning to you eventually America, you big, weird contradiction, you.