Across America Again

One of Bill Bryson's major failings as a travel writer, I think, is that he has an almost pathological fear of people. He can travel across some place for six months and not make a single friend.

Conversely, it was my goal to cross the country and meet as many people as possible -- how much can you really learn from a Fodor's guide and a souvenir shop? This country is nothing if not a collection of small places each with their own mindset. To paraphrase Henry Thoreau -- Maine, as we've discovered, often has nothing to say to Texas -- it's people think differently, speak differently, and want different things from life. If Maine and Texas spoke more often I think we'd be less fractious. America is a land of little squabbles, infighting, and cross-purposes. It's often amazing that we move forward at all, but we do -- we make great strides, sometimes altruistic, other times not, but the fact that we do at all is a tribute to those not-so-rare people along the way whose inspiration and perspiration lend themselves to making this country and this planet a better place every day of their lives.

I'm indebted to all the fantastic people I met on this trip. People who offered me their sofas & who let me into their houses and their lives. This country is a little bit smaller because of you; and I mean that in the very best way.

Kyle Cassidy

August 27, 2006

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