Friday, July 16, 2010

Road Trip to the Midwest

I'm going on a road trip...the path so far is Cleveland -> Lansing -> Chicago, and from there, probably Madison -> Twin Cities, likely Iowa at some point. I may stop at other cities and towns in between. And I may stop to see some natural areas, because I love nature.

Tea is not the main purpose of the trip...but if anyone has any recommendations of places I might like to stop to buy or enjoy some tea, please let me know.

The main purpose? I just can't get enough of the Midwest. The East Coast gets to me sometimes, with its fast pace, competitiveness, and high cost of living. It just doesn't feel like home to me, even though I grew up near it, in Lancaster, PA. I lived in Ohio for college and 3 years afterwards, and it seemed considerably slower-paced and less competitive, and also from visiting elsewhere in the midwest I have gotten that vibe too.

I have dreams of moving to the midwest at some point. Right now, I just want to travel around a bit, visit some friends and family, and get a feel for different places. Also, I have never been in Wisconsin or Minnesota, and I would like to see those states. I would like to find a place to live, in the long-run, that has a vibrant community, but is more laid-back. Sometimes, on the east-coast, I get frustrated with how a lot of intelligent young people are drawn into cities like DC, NYC, Boston, all of which seem too fast-paced, have a high cost of living, and a little bit of a workaholic culture. I'd like to find a place where people work less, spend more time with friends and family, and are less competitive, but where there is still an active and vibrant culture with a lot of young people.

Thoughts? On tea? Or on places to live, or just pleasant places to visit?


  1. Alex, Try the Northwest!! Summertime isn't as hot or humid, Seattle and Portland have great tea cultures, vibrant communities, lots of things to do with nature----ocean, mountains, deserts, etc.........(great wine culture too!) And after living in So. Ca. for a couple of years, I can say that lifestyle is less showy and competitive in the northwest. I like to say we know how to 'stop and smell the roses'.

    Jan E.

  2. Well, I'm here in Minneapolis right now...not going the whole way to the northwest. The point of this trip was to explore the upper midwest! And I must say, I've been greatly surprised. This is a culturally vibrant part of the U.S...from Chicago to Madison Wisconsin to the Twin Cities, I have been solidly surprised to find more than I was expecting in each place! I even enjoyed my brief stay in Michigan.

    And...I know west coasters don't get this, but I love the variability in weather in the east and midwest. It's pouring rain right now, with lots of thunder. There have been hot, humid days (which I love) and one full day of torrential rain. And I love the seasons. I want hot summers and cold winters! The only thing that I am thinking might be a little amiss about the upper midwest is, oddly, they don't seem to make up for the long, cold winters by losing the summer, but rather, by shortening spring and fall, for some reason...I do like my spring and fall.

  3. The northwest definitely loses out on the 'winter' end of weather, I agree, and is what I would change if anything. And hey, if you like humidity-----the midwest and east coast are perfect. My poor body doesn't do well in such weather---and although I haven't been to the midwest, I have been to Taiwan, Japan and Korea, where it is quite humid in the summer. How about Denver??? No humidity, but great seasons! My daughter loves Denver.

    Jan E.

  4. I love the seasons, also, but I hated the Midwest. It often felt monumentally boring. And the summers were too long and too hot -as far as I am concerned, we could just skip summer. I always felt like a fish out of water. Too brash, too fast, too this, too that. But I am really none of those. I don't live in a metropolitan area, so my life is slow-paced, but then, I always worked to keep craziness in check, with time for family and friends, projects, etc. But we are all different, so enjoy!

  5. That's funny, I guess some people just fit in more in different cultures.

    What I dislike about the east coast is that I get the sense that there is a very strong draw of young, educated people into the big cities. I don't want to live in a big city, but the smaller cities (like Baltimore, Allentown/Bethlehem, most of the cities in Connecticut) are mostly in economic ruin.

    I actually like the more rural parts of the east coast...even areas that everyone is constantly putting down, like south Jersey or rural Pennsylvania.

    What kills it though is that I keep making friends and they all move into the big cities, where things are expensive, and too fast-paced for me.

    In the midwest, there are cities like Madison and Ann Arbor, which are small, but seem to be a magnet for young people and have more than just the universities. And there are prosperous medium-large cities like Minneapolis/St. Paul. And even Chicago, as big as it is, feels so much more affordable and more manageable than NYC, and it seems to offer all the same things.

    It is true though that the midwest has extreme weather. Many places there have both hotter summers and colder winters than here, and the day-to-day variation in weather can be extreme.