I lived in the frigid Northeast (cold in terms of weather and people) and in hot and humid Southern Florida (slow like molasses). I spent a summer working in the Midwest, I roamed up and down the Southern Cali coast and paid my fair share of attention to Los Angeles and San Francisco. But I had never REALLY seen the West – explored it on my own time, driven through it, stopped in small towns, stayed put for a bit, felt like a local.
After 3 months on the road, driving from Colorado to California and back, visiting Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota, I finally settled in Aspen, CO. The West won my heart, not with its spectacular nature but with its outstanding people!
The American West is the place where:
- People ask you if you have a place to stay overnight when you tell them you are traveling cross country in your little car.
- Your Couchsurfing / Airbnb hosts are worried you haven’t eaten dinner and ask if they could cook you something.
- Couchsurfing actually means getting your own room in a ski in ski out house with a bathroom, heated floors, a balcony, and a private hot tub.
- People call you Miss, Lady, Madam, Babe and look at you as if you are the best thing that’s ever happened to them.
- When you stop at a small town gas station and you have out of state plates everyone asks you if you need help, in the most kind, polite, well-intentioned way.
- Your accent makes you that much cooler and no one judges you on it.
- The truckers tell the coolest stories and are some of the kindest people on the road – you drive cross country once in your lifetime for fun and think you are cool as shit, they do it daily all their life to feed their families. #dontbeafraidoftruckers
- Every local in small mountain towns wants to draw you a map and show you the coolest hidden gems, trails, restaurants, and coffee shops.
- When a car spins out of control on the highway not only everyone signals emergency but the first trucks that pass by stop and help. #neverinthenortheast
- When you ask to see elk and bison in Wyoming your hosts respond with “dead or alive?”. Didn’t know those were my options, but alive if possible 🙂 (saw both, pics to prove it)
- Road kill is legal. After you call it in with the police, you can load it on your car/truck, tie it up on the roof, and at least have dinner for the whole year (now that you don’t have a car any more after close encounters with suicidal deer or pet elk.)
My heard is full! Forever grateful, Wild Wild West!
Yours, the Bulgarian Mermaid