Finding Heart in America’s Heartland

Something which I haven’t always enjoyed is traveling inside the USA, I’m not sure if it’s the fact that it’s my own country or perhaps my own countrymen that generally annoy me but I just haven’t enjoyed it anywhere near as much as I thought; Much of this comes form traveling around the world and seeing how others travel in comparison to us, and that has left something of a sour taste in my mouth.

I was trying to get my head around what it is that we do which annoys me and I have settled on the fact that everything is competitive. For us that has put us in a fine place in the world of course and many will say that this competitive spirit is what has launched the nation to such lofty heights, and this is something which I would tend to agree with, in terms of heart and emotion however, I have always felt that the competition takes over, especially in some of the country’s most popular tourist spots.

On a trip through the Heartland last year however, in particular my trip to Colorado, I experienced a very different nation indeed.


One of my favorite authors is Hunter S. Thompson and this was part of my  reasoning for going to Aspen, to retrace the steps that the crazy and entertaining writer had walked, close to his home town. I had also always enjoyed the sound of true freedom which existed in Aspen, Denver and throughout Colorado, and that is something which I certainly felt come across during my time there, and it was also why Hunter Moved to Woody Creek in the first place, to indulge in his, lunacy I guess.


For me the devil is very much in the details when we talk about people showing heart or empathy, touches like having the door opened or people letting you in the line. These are light things which we see when we cross the northern border to Canada, but less so in the US of A. Here in Colorado however I have to say that there was genuine kinship and care from the people who I came into contact with, and they seemed wholly genuine and just happy to help.

They say that the Heartland states of Kansas, Montana and those in the Midwest are called such because they are not touching an ocean or sea, but I would venture to say that it is those on the interior of the nation who do show the most heart and who do give you reasons to be cheerful that you are from the US, because not all of us are out to win at all costs.

What has your experience been traveling inside your own country? Does it make you proud? Or do you recognize some areas of the nation which aren’t quite to your liking?