I feel like I should earn a prize (especially after how long it takes to get here!)
So far I've yet to see anything out here that makes me feel like I've really been missing out by spending so much of my time on the East Coast, although to be fair, I'm not really in the most stereotypical "west coast" city (and not the one I would have picked had I been given a choice).
The flight out here, however, was amazing. I flew over a few great lakes, passed right over Toronto and had an amazing view of the CN tower, spent some time admiring the Rocky Mountains, and even saw the Great Salt Lake. Even the middle of the country was pretty amazing to fly over. There were hundreds and hundreds of windmills everywhere I looked, and so much SPACE and farmland. When you're looking around Boston, trying to claim your own area and trying to decide if you can settle for anything below a quarter of an acre of land, it's incredible to remember how much land there actually is in this country.
It's also interesting to remember how many different terrains/climates/cultures there are in our country. It makes me understand a bit more how this election has gotten so crazy. We all have such different experiences and truths, yet we need to come together as one country to choose our next leader. It's easy to debate an issue, but if you aren't actively living it, can you really understand?
Can you understand what it's like to live paycheck to paycheck, working multiple jobs, always worrying about the next emergency when you're living with more money than you could ever spend in a lifetime? When you're traveling on private jets? Always driving new cars? Attending Broadway shows or events that are unreachable to the general public?
Can you understand the emotions around the immigration debate if you were born here and have never had to worry about a relative who was undocumented? If you've never felt that uncertainty about your future? If you haven't lived in a state on the boarder and lived the reality every day?
If nothing else, this trip is a reminder that there are so many different and unique experiences in our shared country. And maybe it's time for us to reach out, spend some more time experiencing a new part of the country, and listening to each others stories.
“Geography has made us neighbors. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners. And necessity has made us allies. Those whom nature hath so joined together, let no man put asunder. What unites us is far greater than what divides us.”
Although President John F. Kennedy said this during a 1961 address to the Canadian Parliament, I think it's also applicable for how each state should feel about each other. How we people should feel about each other. Skin color, legal status, gender identity - what unites us is far greater than what divides us.