The second stage of our year-long sabbatical, i.e. 3-month tour of North America, is coming to an end. Apart from the traditional Top 10 ranking, we would like to share a few impressions at the end of our stay here.
USA and Canada are countries built, what is sometimes forgotten here, millions of immigrants. For different reasons they left behind their homes in search of better life in America. Though rich cultural heritage similar to Europe or Asia cannot be found here, the size of development over the last 200 plus years is mind-boggling. The huge scale in residential and commercial construction, dense network of state and interstate highways, recreational (except campgrounds ) and educational infrastructure or vast unutilized space provide a lot of growth opportunities. Often times during our travels we would drive for hours not seeing a single soul. Some US states with territories somewhat smaller than Poland have populations smaller than the Polish capital, Warsaw. In fact, some of those like Wyoming or North Dakota have population even smaller than our home town Wroclaw.
By the way, I have recently read that around October this year the world population will hit 7 bn. Many, particularly in the western countries, worry of we have enough room to accommodate all people. Well, driving through the vast territory of North America we could clearly see there is still a lot of unused space here.
North America is a very culturally diverse place. It is particularly striking in Canada, taking pride in its so-called “mosaic society”, in which cultural diversity is cultivated. High living standard still attracts many here.
There are signs, however, that this American paradise myth is crumbling. The cycle of falling empires known from the history repeats itself. Those signs include rampant credit-fueled consumption, falling credit worthiness, family crisis or falling psycho-physical condition of the society to name just a few.
It is not to say that it is not worth visiting this place. It has beautiful nature, often times you can meet very kind and hospitable people … and this cheap shopping . I often joke that from our side we are doing all we can to support the US economy by shopping here a lot . I would not exaggerate with the latter though. Shopping in the US can be overwhelming and is very contagious. On the other hand, though, as shows life in Central America, man does not need a lot to live and be happy.
Anyway, we are all looking forward to the next stage of our sabbatical, i.e. Oceania and Australia. As for North America, its magic and allure is still strong. We will most likely come back here.
America – hang in there!!