There’s an old proverb that states: “To go west you must first go east”. I don’t know who originally said it, or indeed if it is actually a proverb, but what I do know is that early tomorrow morning I’ll be embracing it wholeheartedly as I start my journey to the United States by flying to Geneva, six-hundred miles in the wrong direction. This is, believe it or not, intentional and is just one of the sacrifices you have to make if you want to pay only $80 and some air-miles for a return transatlantic flight. I’ll only be in Switzerland for a couple of hours but am hoping that’ll be sufficient time to set up an anonymous bank account and conduct some high-risk hedging on international gold futures.
I’m currently at base-camp in a hotel situated just on the edge of Heathrow Airport. I’ve stayed here numerous times before but this is the first time that I’ve been treated to a view out my window of an active runway. Usually the best I can hope for is a car park, dual carriageway, patch of waste ground or (excitement!) combination of all three. This time though I can while away the hours watching plane-after-plane come in to land at one of the world’s busiest airports, with only occasional glances to see what’s kicking off in the car park.
I’ll admit that I have a degree of trepidation about the journey I’m about to undertake. Logistically it’s probably the most complex American trip I’ve done to-date and there’s a fair chance that, at some point along the way, something will go spectacularly wrong…but it’s more than just that: It would seem that the US, much like the UK, appears to be losing its way. From the view we’re presented with by the media and online it is a country divided starkly in two, much more so now than ever before, and the divisions seem to be getting worse. When I’ve told people at work where I was planning to go for this trip their response was usually something along the lines of “I couldn’t go there now because of Trump”. While I can understand that view I think that is, in effect, an easy way out.
In my mind, the fact that President Trump is a reality makes going to the areas that elected him even more important. His rise to power wasn’t an accident and I want to try and find out what’s happened in rural America to make them elect a man who thinks Defcon 1 is nothing more than an ill-fated boy-band from the early nineteen eighties.
Also, I want to see an eclipse.
With twelve hours on some sort of aircraft tomorrow, and most of that time spent doubling-back on myself, any topics to write about would be welcome! Comment below or wander onto twitter and tweet @themuscovyduck.