That is a basic summary of our time across the United States. As I write this, I have had a little time to rest and reflect on the past few months. While I honestly wouldn’t do anything differently, we pushed ourselves quite hard and are a bit worn out. Jasmine and I really considered this part of the trip to be more of a sightseeing adventure, as opposed to the rest which will hopefully be more of a cultural experience.
In keeping with the sightseeing theme, we tried to take in as much as possible. The thing I want to convey the most before we leave for foreign borders is that the United States is a beautiful country with many different kinds of natural beauty and a vast array of different people. In general, we felt welcome and enjoyed just about everywhere that we had the honor to visit.
I think my favorite parts of the trip had to be when we visited various historical sights. History has always fascinated me and this trip allowed me to immerse myself in it. From the historic homes in Savannah, Georgia to the battlefield at Gettysburg we covered quite a bit of America’s history. In these places, we were also able to witness the greatness of our founding fathers and the leaders that followed them. In several places for example, we couldn’t escape the presence of Abraham Lincoln’s spirit, as we witnessed how he lead this nation through a very delicate time in it’s history. Lincoln’s resolution to protect this nation and the rights given to us in the constitution is unfortunately something that seems to be lacking in our country today.
Canada also presented us with some history of it’s own. Not many places in North America have as much history and beauty as Quebec City. The Old City in Quebec was unlike anything else I have seen and the architecture seems to be out of a painting. Speaking of Canada, we also enjoyed our time their immensely. Vancouver and Montreal certainly provided us with much to talk about. Of course, the most anticipated sight that we visited in Canada had to be Niagara Falls. No where else was the power of nature felt quite as much as there. Perhaps the only thing we didn’t like about going to Canada was dealing with the U.S. customs officials as we crossed back into the United States. On the flip side, the Canadian border officials, along with all of the people in Canada, (even the French in Quebec) were all very pleasant to us.
Some of the best memories we have from the trip are from America’s cities. It is no surprise that some of the most famous cities in the world lie in the United States and we were fortunate enough to see some of them. While we saw so many, our favorite cities were New York, Washington DC, Atlanta & Boston. All of these cities really opened our eyes and effortlessly revealed to us what makes them so great. We were so enamored with New York City, that some how we survived four fourteen hour days of non-stop sightseeing. Even though we wanted to stop, New York just kept revealing itself to us and we were unable to let ourselves get away. The Big Apple’s energy is incredible and unlike anything else we encountered in the past three months. I also can’t leave out how incredibly nice and polite the people in Atlanta are. Atlanta also provided perhaps the most powerful moment of the trip for me. I will never forget feeling Martin Luther King’s spirit surrounding me in Ebinezer Baptist Church, where he used to preach every Sunday.
Enough talk about cities, let’s get back to nature. Without doubt, the award for best landscape has to go to Maine and Quebec, Canada. With their dense forestation, rainbow colored wildflowers and lush green grasses these areas made us drive down their highways with our mouths wide open. I will never forget getting out of the car to see the view from Mt. Battie near Camden, Maine. In my opinion, this part of the world has to be considered some of god’s best work!
The United States is also very well known for it’s national parks. We were able to visit ten of them along the way. Among the best was The Great Smoky Mountains. It didn’t take us long to discover why it is the most visited national park in the country. When one talks about national parks then Yellowstone also has to enter the conversation. Yellowstone’s geysers and hot springs will always have a special place in my heart. We also had the opportunity to visit two cave national parks. Both Wind Cave and Carlsbad Caverns left us in awe of what nature can do given many thousands of years. The United States is full of natural treasures and while the man made cities are great, god’s work is much better.
What would America be without it’s small towns. For the most part, we never felt out of place anywhere and the people across the country were very nice. We certainly felt the hospitality that the south is known for. Also, while traveling across the great plains, we found out that one of our favorite places is South Dakota. For the most part, South Dakota is nothing but small towns and the people there are great. Even though Sioux Falls is a decent size, we felt so welcome at their Fourth of July celebration.
We also experienced plenty of highs and lows over the past ninety days. Nothing felt quite as good as experiencing Disney World for the first time with my dad and brother, while to the contrary, nothing felt worse then when they left and we were suddenly traveling alone again. It was these moments that helped us learn the best cure for home sickness is to get moving. The low feelings are easily put aside when the excitement of seeing something new comes into the picture.
While this post only wraps up our three months in the United States, I feel that this first part of the trip was important and profound. When we got in the car three months ago, you can say that we were not the most experienced travelers. While we still have a lot to learn, the past three months certainly have boosted our confidence as we venture into our international travels. It feels good to know that we will be functioning well as a family unit when we are bombarded with the new situations that the third world will certainly spring upon us.
Perhaps the most important thing that I have to say after the past three months is to get out and see the world. While everyone might not be able to take two years or even three months, a road trip of a week or two will most certainly be rewarding and provide memories that last a lifetime. We saw so many wonderful places that are just hours from where we resided, but that we were to lazy to get out and see. I sure hope than when this trip is over, we won’t fall back into the trap of working to hard and not taking enough time to live. I have seen how much there is to see out there and I honestly can’t fathom passing it up to sit on the couch anymore. I thought ninety days was a long time, but quickly learned the truth when we had to pass up most of what we came across because we didn’t have enough time.
Now we are off to Guatemala and other areas of Central America. The Coomer Family is full of excitement as we embark on this international part of the trip. As mentioned earlier, our travel will be at a slower pace as we try to gain an insight into the culture of the places we visit. We also realize that with a child, the level of research that we must do is greatly increased. With everything said, the past three months have been even more rewarding than I thought they would be. I really don’t have any reason to believe that the next two years of international travel will be any different. Life is so short and I am glad that we are choosing to live. We will talk to you soon from Guatemala and don’t forget that we love you all!
The Coomer Family