Take the Job That Travels
I am a California snob. I know this. I own it. You cannot convince me that it isn't the absolute best place in the world. In the same way that you can't convince a New Yorker that NYC isn't the best city in the world or tell Clara (our Peggy Sawyer) that Cininnati isn't the best city in the world. I cannot understand why anyone would want to live, work, eat, think, breathe, anywhere other than the great state of California. (As I write this, a damn is overflowing in Nor Cal and wiping out thousands of homes because some government idiot didn't do his job, but that aside, and I don't blame the state itself for it...) there is a reason millions of people dream of coming to CA, vacation in CA and move there every year even though the cost of living is the highest in the country. The population of CA is already larger than the entire country of Canada! It's true! Google it! This graphic...
I try to down play that little blue section so people don't hate Californians. Or maybe so I don't over sell it and make them want to move there too. More than Canada?! Seriously! But it is true that there is no good Mexican food outside of CA (Maaaaybe TX and AZ) and I seriously question any sushi from a land locked state. However, I'm on a bus in the middle of Ohio... Indiana? Illinois? I honestly don't know. We're covering them all today en route to Iowa. Our tour a week ago looked like this..
courtesy of friend (and our Bert Barry) Steven's app. We've added about 5 more cities since then in AL, GA and SC. And now we're back north to the cold weather. I'll update this sometime. Updating an app like this is just the kind of detail that stresses me out so I just mooch off of his awesome techy side. Thanks Hun! So while I love the place of my birth I'm spending a lot of time not being there... and this is a great thing.
Travel! I first learned this important life rule from my parents who traveled a good deal and continue to do so. This was mostly for work when I was younger. They traveled nationally and internationally. I rarely know where my Dad is and this year's vacation jaunt is taking them to Russia and Scandinavia so Mom can see Norway, the land of her people! I specifically remember their first trip to Asia when I was young. They left my sisters and I in the care of friends and family and I got dangerously ill with strep and was hospitalized. Timely illness is always my forte. I survived, their trip was great and it was a memory for all. We were also one of those families that Dad shoved into the back seat, or as the youngest and before seatbelt laws, under the dash board of the front seat, (wow, that sounds like child abuse now) of an unairconditioned car every other summer to drive across the desert to visit family in the mid west. Well, so I'm told. By the time I was old enough to remember this we had air conditioning and I was too big to fit under the dash. Anyway, this afforded us many window views of much of the country and random stops at historic and semi-historic sights: Grand Canyon, Baseball Hall of Fame, road side fruit stands. One summer we stopped at every little church along the way and bought/were given their church cook book. This was a big fundraising thing for churches when I was little and my Dad was convinced that the best recipes were homemade church cookbook recipes. They have a whole collection of them. Looking through them now, it's hard to find anything in there that doesn't require a can of cream of mushroom soup. Bleh. That's the Mid-West for ya. All of this means that I was able to see a lot of our country at a young age. I was also fortunate to study abroad in England my Sophomore year of college. I traveled out from there to surrounding countries and found so much value in new cultures, new people, foods, languages, etc.. It's a perspective you don't value until you travel and a value you don't see unless you do. Everyone loves where they're from, or that place that was most impactful on their lives. Travel shows you more beauty and more respect for the world and at the same time teaches you to value your favorite place even more. Even within your own country. Examples
New Yorkers are not angry, scary people. (Common stereotype) They are loud and passionate, like their city. Just because they're yelling doesn't mean they're mad. They're happy to give directions from the subway, discuss 9/11, debate the best pizza and, as in Little Italy, compliment you ("Que Bella! Bellisima!") all at full volume and with plenty of expletives. It's passion. Get it or you don't get NY.
The South, and by south so far I mean anything Virginia and south-er. First, you cannot get a vegetable that still looks like it grew out of the ground. Everything is fried. Conner (our Billy Lawler) ordered a salad as he is pretty healthy eater too. It came with fries... mixed into the salad! Yup. With the greens. I guess they're a veggie? You can get vats of boiled nuts at every truck stop and convenience mart. Ew. They're usually right next to the jars of pickeled animal parts; feet, claws, snouts. (Yes, this was AK and KY) I know you think I'm kidding. Really wishing I took a picture of this. Next truck stop. However, they know how to barbecue an animal and Buffalo a chicken and brew a great beer or whiskey like no other place in the world.
People in the south are super friendly! They greet you happily and are chatty and will know where you're from and how many siblings you have by the time you're done at the check out counter. However this also means that it takes forever to stand in line anywhere because they do this with everyone! Ugh! The rest of the world does not move on CA/NY time.
Additionally im not adjusting well to being called "Ma'am". The first time this happened on this tour was at a hotel where we were for several days. Most of the employees were African American and they called me Ma'am. This bothered me on a racial level. It felt like a race thing because I am a white woman. I'd give them my name but they still call me Ma'am. Then I had a dresser at the theatre. These are local hires who work with wardrobe and backstage with costume changes and without whom we cannot get through a show. They are 90% of the time, awesome! They love their town, their theatre and what they do. They are also experts on where to go and what to see or eat locally. I had a sweet 25ish year old dresser who responded with "Yes, Ma'am" after everything I said or asked or mentioned. I felt like I was giving military commands. Her name is Leanne and she was a great dresser. I told her to call me Kara or Dorothy or even 100 (my wardrobe number) whatever was easy to remember. Her response "Yes Ma'am. I'll try to do that Ma'am" suffice it to say that I was Ma'am for the rest of our run there. Now Leanne was white so that was not a racial thing, maybe age? An authority figure thing? Anyway I was really confused last night when my dresser who is about 10 years older than me still called me Ma'am. So I'm just gonna get over this whole Ma'am thing and respect it as an endearment... or something. I'm just so not a Ma'am! My Jammie's have teapots all over them! Whatever.
We don't always have time in every city to see it but when we do, we do! Tips for travel? Simple: Eat the food, Listen to the music, talk to the people. That's the heart of the culture.
When the view outside my front door 300% of the time is this,
And I'm being generous here. This is a very good day on a very specific week most likely in the month of April.
Then sights like these...
Niagra Falls NY
Key West FL
are just the beginning of how amazing a varied and beautiful and surprising our nation is. Still don't wanna live anywhere but CA, but I have a joyful understanding of someone else's love for these places. just valuing my perspective. It makes me believe that home actually looks like that picture more often than it does.
ps If you ever get the choice, take the job that travels.