Wondering how to travel America? You’re in luck! Camping, RV, seeing America from the road, your options are wide open…just like the road! Explore America…your way, before it’s gone.
We are witnessing a real-time resurgence of interest in the good ole’ USA.
- The RV industry reported more than 11% of U.S. households own an RV.
- Forbes reported that 77 million U.S. households have someone who camps at least occasionally.
- The majority of these households are camping as much as three times per year and often stay within 100 miles of home, which allow for more frequent weekend and short-term getaways.
- Lodging options vary: tents, RV’s, yurts, cabins, teepees, and treehouses.
The message from millennials, to Gen X’r, to Boomers seems to be “I want to get back to nature…with access to wifi, of course.”
Grab Your Bedroll…or 40-foot Class A
There are lots of reasons to see America. They don’t call it “America the Beautiful” for nothing! Sure, there are wonderful places all around the world to see…and see them we do…and will continue to do.
But what about the wonderlands we have in our own backyard? Too often, we forget to see those rough diamonds. Our sandstone cathedrals and cliff-dwelling castles are just as fascinating as the castles on the Rhine River, once you understand the story of the Hopis, Havasupais, Apaches, and Navahos.
The Natural Bridges of Utah, the mammoth Caves of Kentucky, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite Valley, Yellowstone Park and Pikes Peak are as much of an architectural wonder as the Eiffel Tower.
The Colorado and Mohave Deserts, High Sierras, Channel Islands, Lake Tahoe, Glacier National Park of Montana and the Cascades have just as much to offer as the Swiss Alps.
Everything from Craters formed in the earth after the universe threw debris from the sky to petrified forests and purple mountains on high are laid out before us like a patchwork of history. Yet many of us miss it because we are limiting our vision to sights over-seas.
Or on the television screens in front of us (but that’s a story for another day).
There is nothing wrong with traveling to another country. Especially because today we have more, better, and less expensive traveling options. Still, with over 2600 miles of land coast to coast, and 1500 miles north to south, surely there is something to see right here at home.
According to the National Park Service, over 85 million acres have been designated national park land. This includes 418 areas which include national parks, monuments, battlefields, military parks, historical parks, historic sites, lakeshores, seashores, recreation areas, scenic rivers, trails, and the White House.
That’s our playground!
So, it’s really no surprise that people who live in the USA (and those who don’t) are becoming interested in seeing these national and natural treasures before they disappear.
Or we disappear…whichever comes first!
How to Connect During your Travels
I’ve read several reports from the travel industry saying many people are becoming disillusioned with travel. It seems we are not walking away from our vacations feeling relaxed, inspired, connected, or transformed.
How does that happen?
How can you go to a place like Rome, or Paris, or Yellowstone Park, or the Grand Canyon and just feel…’meh.’
Is it because everybody else is going to these places…at the same time…during the same coordinated vacation days…in the same season? With huge crowds, the most popular (and popularized) locations can start to feel like a series of lines you stand in, admissions you pay for, and selfies you take.
Is it because we are looking at so many images posted to Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, that we limit our “experience” to hoping to capture an equally fascinating image rather than allowing an actual transformational moment?
Are we forgetting to enjoy where we are, what we are doing, who we are meeting, who we are with, what we are learning, and of course, what we are eating and drinking?
Or, is it simply that because we limit ourselves to a small amount of vacation days (when we take vacation days at all…um – note to self: Take That Vacation Time Off!), that so much energy and stress go into vacation planning, perhaps even over-planning in order to structure everything “just so” and “get it all in”, that by the time the vacation is over, you need a vacation!
No matter what the reason, the good news is you can easily change your travel experience. The travel industry understands these feelings of disconnect and is focused on putting together experiential travel opportunities: bike tours, safaris, culinary classes, food and cultural events. There are some great options.
However, you don’t have to wait for a tour to get more out of your vacations. As the song says…it starts with the “man/woman in the mirror.”
Go ahead, open yourself up to a sense of wonder and curiosity. Forget that you “know” everything. Realize that Google is a great place to find information; websites and social media are great places to learn more about the information you find. However, YOU are the best person to put that information into action.
Take what you learn…and then play!
Back to America the Beautiful
What better place to play than in our own backyard?
When I was young, our family camped a lot. Just like today, it was more affordable than taking a big family to a fancy shmancy hotel. For us, it was a lot more fun too.
After all, running through a hotel lobby dripping in mud and carrying a trout on the line would certainly be frowned upon at the Ritz. But Mother Nature didn’t care.
In fact, she encourages it!
It could be argued, just as it was argued at the turn of the century when European travel was popular, that few Americans really know their own land.
We can “know” the Sierra Nevada’s from pictures online, but how many of us have hiked the John Muir Trail?
How many of us have dipped our tin cups under water flowing fresh from a waterfall, camping on the edge of a lake where you are the only inhabitants?
How many of us have pulled ticks from your belly (which I may or may not have done on more than one occasion)?
Okay, maybe that last one is something you can live without, but still…it’s part of the “real” experiences we all crave. Not everything, and certainly not everything worth experiencing, can be sanitized, compartmentalized. and organized.
The bottom line is if you want to get more out of travel, you have to get out of the car, look up from the screen, and take a chance on being a little uncomfortable. As they say, all the best things in life are just outside your comfort zone.
America, and her land, have a lot to offer.
There is the scenery: the Rockies, the sage-brush deserts, the Sierra Nevada’s, the craggy coastlines and wind-swept dunes, and everything in between.
And then, there are all the little towns and big cities along the way. Small hamlets with a budding craft brewery scene; cities with growing farm-to-fork and bean-to-bar restaurant offerings, and cosmopolitan city centers that once sported horse drawn carriages instead of yellow cabs. Along with the people who call these places home.
Our history and our geography always have something for the curious traveler.
The question is: How will YOU explore the good ole’ U. S. of A?
We are so excited to hear your stories! If you are so inclined, consider writing for us, would you?