In a recent comment on one of Lin’s posts over at the Absence of Alternatives, I let out that I would probably never visit the States. I realize this might sound a bit rash for someone who hasn’t even turned 30 (please let me enjoy being able to say this for just one more year), and truth be told, if it hadn’t been for a since deceased bearded Saudi, I already would have. And it’s not like I don’t want to. For one thing, I dream of seeing every show on Broadway (and you may take this quite literally). My parents have spent their two most recent summer holidays traveling around Arizona/Nevada/Wyoming/Utah/… visiting National Parks and cities whose names I forgot but whose pictures filled me with longing and jealousy. Unfortunately (for myself), I am the lucky owner of a number of
obsessionspassions, and one of those evolves around carbon footprinting.
I have always been very concerned with nature conservation and the like. I remember, even as a kid, telling my mother about recycling, and that she had to separate waste streams of plastic and metal. The poor woman was only barely able to explain to me that it didn’t make much sense to throw them away separately if they weren’t picked up separately (that has fortunately changed). Even to this day I get so obsessed about recycling that I throw my bottles and cans in the trash of the apartment block around the corner (usually under the cover of darkness) because it has separate containers for glass/plastic/metal/… and mine doesn’t. I’ve always used public transportation, and only got my driving license at 25, mostly because my parents kept insisting I get it. Needless to say, I never owned a car. I rarely drink anything but plain tap water, and I’ve been known to come close to dehydration when I forgot my water bottle out or pure stubbornness not to buy bottled water. I travel between Belgium and Sweden by a long, expensive train ride (17hrs, about €170) instead of a quick, cheap flight (6hrs, about €110). And so, I’m sure you understand, even with a GreenSeat certificate my conscience would never survive the torture of my feelings of guilt about throwing 2,46 tons of CO2 in the air. I have, however, found a solution to this problem that doesn’t involve an $800 7-day crossing with the Queen Mary 2…
I’m just gonna travel through the States via the World Wide Web! Indeed: if an Idiot can cycle coast to coast and Thypolar can shop at WalMart in whichever state she chooses, I sure as hell can visit the States through the interwebz, right? For each state, I will give myself a week of traveling time, so that I would be able to do the whole trip in a year. I’ll research the top sights and must-have-done’s, trying to get a sniff of American history, and alternate with breathtaking hikes and cycling tours. I might even do some culture here and there (although the stars know I was never one for museums). I will then tell you all about what I’ve seen, done, and learned!
Because Lin instigated the idea, I will start my exploration in the state of Illinois and its largest city, Chicago – which, remarkably, is not the capital. I truly thought Springfield was a fictional village inhabited by yellow creatures, but that is obviously my mistake. See, I haven’t even started and I’ve learned something already! If you have any trips for state-seeing, please let me know, and if you’re residing in the US of A: see you soon!