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Heading east is going to become very familiar direction over the next few years. Ashley and I have decided to go towards the rising sun rather than chasing the setting sun. I guess I could ponder on the idea that the sun will always be rising, it will always be shining upon us as we circumvent the world. The idea of the sun rising upon us is quite comforting, that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Yet, even though this is a comforting thought and a happy coincidence, this is not the reason for heading east. Personally, for me and I think I can speak for Ashley as well, it is important to us to learn about the country we have called home for so many years. How can I go around the world, explore and learn about other cultures if I am not willing to learn a little about mine first? The U.S.A. is a large and vast country with so many different cultures woven throughout the land. That is why we are heading east, we want to learn a little bit more about the country that we come from.
It is hard to pinpoint what exactly is American culture and I don’t believe that there is just one. I truly do not believe you can sum up America in just a few words even though I know some people like to try. We are a melting pot; our ancestors come from all around the world and settled here. They all brought their own cultures and over the years they slowly blended together to give us the diversity that we have today. I’m proud that America is filled with so many different cultures and that we, as a young country, are learning how to live and strive with all the differences. I am not saying we are perfect by any means, and just like every country we have our own faults that we need to improve on but I’m proud of our diversity and proud to be an American. This land has so much to offer for Ash and I and I don’t want to take it for granted and just leave it behind. This road trip across the U.S. is very important to me, and is something that I have been wanting to do for a very long time. We know however, that we won’t be able to see it all.
So what cities did we pick? Well, it was not too difficult once we figured out what we wanted to focus on. We decided that we wanted to focus on music and food. For me, to decide to focus on these two areas was a no brainer, especially when you have a country that is so different. The U.S. does have a good food scene; we don’t all just stuff our face with McDonalds contrary to popular belief. Music will also be one of our guides through the states. Ashley and I are not the biggest music buffs but we love jazz and blues and what a better country to be in for blues and jazz. So food and music will be guiding our cultural tour across the states.
Sedona will be our first stop outside of California. I have to see my brand new baby niece. Also we will be taking a quick day trip out to the Grand Canyon just to enjoy some nature. The first major city that we are hitting will be Santa Fe for some great southwestern style cooking. I love spice and the chilies that they grow there are suppose to be out of this world. After a quick stop in Oklahoma and Arkansas we will be in the city I have been looking forward to most. New Orleans, what can I say about a city that I believe to have the best culture in the entire United States? I have been to this city once before and it stole my heart and I have been itching to get back ever since I was 14. There is something just so magical about the creole style cooking and the music, which can get even the most stubborn of feet moving. Then we are heading north through Elvis and bbq country. Memphis and Nashville will be on the list and finish up our tour north in Chicago which has its own claim to the blues and jazz industry. Then back on the road heading east to see DC, our country’s capital. I have been there multiple times and truly do love the DC area. It has so much of our countries history and in my opinion is a must stop.
Then we are ending our journey across America in The City. Now where I live people call SF the city, but it is not The City. New York City might just be the greatest of all the American cities. Now I am saying this as a Californian who has been known in the past to bust the chops of east coasters but I would be a fool to deny the greatness of New York City. Talk about a place that embodies America’s melting pot culture. The food is out of the world and if you are looking for music believe me you can find it. It is the city that never sleeps and one can argue it probably has the best restaurant scene in the U.S. New York is a big fast paced, in your face kind of city and I love it. Now damn those Yankees but I think New York is a perfect place to sum up our trip.
That is the beginning our trip following the rising sun. Most of America’s history was heading west to new land but it is time to come full circle and head east to understand what it took and the kind of people it took to settle this country. I wish we could see it all before we head out of the states but that will just have to come later. I feel lucky that I can live in such a diverse country and with the cities we chose I think we will get a good feel of our own people and culture. A brighter future is always ahead, and that right there just might be why we are heading east and not west. Head towards the light and a new day.