14/10/2018 - Across the country
A glimpse of the land in between – after hiking the length of the United States along the west coast I decided I want to also experience everything in between the west and the east: the pure distance, the landscapes, I wanted to meet the people and see some cities that don’t get as many visitors as the big ones along the coasts get.
In total I spent about 68 hours in Greyhound busses and Amtrak trains to cover the countrys width. I stopped in Denver/Colorado, Kansas City/Missouri, Chicago/Illinois and eventually will get to the State of Maryland at the east coast. I met a lot of interesting people, good souls, lost souls probably also, and heard many different opinions on and about everything under the sun in countless conversations. But everybody was kind, open and very friendly towards me.
The landscape changed from desert, dry, red-orange-ish in SoCal, Arizona and New Mexico to more forest and eventually the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. After leaving Denver I made my way across the Great Plains – hours and hours of nothing but flat plains, farmland … sometimes powderd by an early October-snow that gave the countryside an extremely stark beauty. … and an emptiness that invites to contemplate.
After leaving Chicago the scenery got more densely populated, the rolling hills of the east started.
And I got a glimpse of a different country again, the country in between, the country ignored, almost forgotten by the ones only seeing the east and the west coast. Travelling by busses and trains in a country where cars are the #1 transportation, followed by planes to cover longer distances, is an extraordinary experience as you get to meet a different country. You get to meet the rather poor, the homeless, the addicted, the single moms travelling with a handful of children, the ones who can’t take up with a society of capitalism and pure consumption. You meet the ones who weren’t lucky to be born in a middle class family, who didn’t get a proper education, you got to meet minorities, veterans with PTSD, pot smokers, line inhalers. And you gotta see the backyard of the USA: littered highways, out of town greyhound stations, small towns were the daily stop of the greyhound throws the local McDonald’s store in a turmoil, little run-down farms on the plains with a bunch of rusted cars behind the house that definitely won’t ever roll on a road again.
That journey added new shades to a picture of a country that is as diverse as hardly any other I got to experience before. Its landscapes are fascinating, the changes and dimensions spectacular. But seen from a European perspective it also faces huge differences in the equality of people and in the way the country take a care of its citizens.