I have often thought that it must be strange being from a foreign country and flying to Disney World for your first American experience. Many, I am sure, fly to our country directly into Orlando – spend time at “The Happiest Place on Earth” and then fly home. What in the world must they think about us with that as their only impression?
But in other ways it has amazed me the number of foreigners that arrive in my hometown of Owensboro, Kentucky to vacation. What in the world are they there for – to see the world’s largest sassafras tree? I know my hometown enjoys bluegrass music and is one of probably nine hundred “Bar B-Q Capitals of the World”. But it still seems strange for people wanting to actually visit there. In talking to people in places where we have traveled, I have learned that others feel the same way about their communities. They love it – but can’t understand why people visit it. Even in Gettysburg where historic events happened in every nook and cranny – the locals seem confused as to what all the hubbub was about. I was amazed to hear adults tell me who went to school in Gettysburg that they never visited the battlefield. Seriously?
So the biggest surprise for Lisa and I (by far) is the number of foreigners who camp here at the Kingman KOA. I’m talking – almost every one of the single day campers are from another country. We have met people from Germany, Sweden, United Kingdom, France, Canada, Japan and Italy. The big thing is to rent an RV upon arriving in the country and traveling around the west visiting places in California and then, of course, The Grand Canyon. It is very unusual to strike up a conversation in the swimming pool with someone who speaks English.
I am glad that people have a different impression of America than simply that of it being like Disney World. Arizona has an unusual beauty and I am glad people from other countries are discovering that. Lisa and I had never traveled to the west until she was assigned to Loma Linda, California last December. My fear is that many Americans are staying away in droves. I have to wonder if the days are gone with the wind when families loaded up in their cars and drove west to see the natural beauty of places like Yosemite, the canyons, the mountains, the desert, and western rivers they find along the way. Admittedly – I am guilty of loving Disney World and certain places (Florida beaches, for example) enough to take vacations there over and over and over. In so doing – we never experienced the beauty of the west until this past year. I encourage anyone reading this to plan a trip west and see this place – at least once. You will love it!
And it will be nice to be able to talk to people in the pool.
Steve and Lisa