Requiem for the United States

FRANÇAIS PAGE 2 : Requiem pour les États-Unis

6 min read

We can all agree that 2020 is a crazy year. No matter where you look at or where you look from. Many lives have been changed this year.

It is one of the reasons I decided to open this website. I did it right before the pandemic and I already wanted to uplift you by showing you what the world has to offer.

In my last article, I said this week’s article would be about our series on the mind-body connection and specifically about our scientifically proven bodies’ healing powers.

Considering some recent events, I decided to change my plans and to write an article I had on my heart to write for many months now. 

Today, we will take an imaginary plane together to one of the best trips I had in my life. This trip happened on July 2019 where life led me to the state of Oregon, United States of America.

This will be our way of sending love, hope and rainy vibrations to this country, that is suffering from severe wildfires as you read this. As a matter of fact, 3 states in the country are currently burning

A requiem is originally a religious tradition, we’re taking it today to remember all the lives and lands that have been destroyed. All the pictures you’ll see in this article come from my trip to the States. Some of you might even recognise some of them from previous article of mine.

4 million acres have been burnt according to the New York Times that entitled their article « ‘It Is Apocalyptic’: Fear and Destruction Grip the West Coast ». For further informations, I invite you to look at their article or find the information available online as this article will only be centered on positive facts.

Deschutes National Forest, Oregon, United States

Let’s remember today what makes Oregon a magical state

Wishes

The story begins 25 years ago when I first dreamt about travelling to the states. I always had this idea that it would be an amazing country to visit and that is welcoming anyone who step foot in their home.

Since then, I grasped every opportunities I could find for knowing more about the states, seeing if this country would be a good fit for me and asking all the questions I could think of.

Every time someone told me about the States, believe me when I say that my eyes were glowing in hope for a trip that would send me to this dream world. 

« You won’t believe what I just heard about the States » would I say to a friend on the phone after having one of those amazing conversations. They were enough for me to believe that a trip to the states would change my entire view of the world.

I had to wait but I didn’t know how much I was right by then.

Of course, some people would say to me that it is a great country but that it is not original to go there and certainly not safe since « everyone has gun there ».

I don’t like prejudices. I didn’t then and I don’t like them now.

I actually believe that those people are the ones that would benefit the most from travelling. Especially since they don’t like opening their eyes and mind.

The Cove Palisades State Park, Oregon, United States

The chance of a lifetime

For 25 years I wanted to visit the United States of America. I never stopped dreaming about it. I never stopped hoping that one day I would have the perfect opportunity to go there, especially since I never found the money to go visit the country properly.

One day, as I was working in a middle school, I received a call from a friend of mine. I remember that day perfectly. She called me thrice in a row and even if I was at work I took time to understand why.

« Oh good, you called me back Ben! You won’t believe what I just found for you!! You can have the opportunity to travel to the States, all expenses paid ; your only job will be to take care of 16 teenagers during their flight! During your stay, you will be hosted by a host family and the children will too, you’ll just have to call them twice a week to be sure everyone is doing well, otherwise you’ll be free to enjoy your stay! »

1 week later, I was flying to Portland, Oregon for the first time in my life.

Greenland seen from the plane

Entering the dream

When I say that I have been wanting to go to the States for a long time, I mean it. So much that I decided to learn English by myself – I explain how in my article Tips for Learning a Language – to know more about the American culture, I even organised many Thanksgiving dinner at home and another one at church with 110 people!

When I stepped foot in the States, even when I entered the plane, I couldn’t realise that I was actually flying there.

Indeed I was, and that is when I understood fully what “all things come to the ones who wait” mean.

Because I believed it for so many years and because I never stopped believing in it, I was finally able to enter my dream. Furthermore, I didn’t have the money to go but life just decided to answer my prayer.

Here I was, landing in Portland and spending one night in a hotel with 16 teenagers that were looking up to me for guidance.

On our way to our host families, we were all amazed by the landscapes we had in front of us. The 3 hour bus ride felt like minutes. That time allowed us all to realise exactly where we were.

Somewhere on the way from Portland to Bend, Oregon

I realised the chance I had to be there. And I wasn’t finished to be grateful.

Living life as an American

What they say is true. Americans aren’t that easy to be close to. But trust me, once they open their door to you, they also open their heart.

Waiting for us with balloons and welcoming signs with our name on it, it was heartwarming to see them welcoming us like this and jumping on the arms of some students of mine made me realised that some must have been coming for several years in the same family.

Imagining all those people having to stay indoor right now because of all the smoke due to the fires just breaks my heart.

My dream didn’t stop there! It was only the beginning. I couldn’t have wished for a better family than the one I had. I will never be able to thank them enough for the way they welcomed me and how they cared for me. They were a perfect fit, vegan, loving yoga and meditation, out of the box and open to new adventures. They opened their home, their heart and family to me. I can now say without a doubt that I am part of their family and that they are part of mine.

They knew I loved going to festivals and organised a visit to a near festival the day after my arrival. That’s when I realised once more that what they say is true. Americans are “full of themselves” (in a good way), you come as you are and you’re free to enjoy your time wherever you are.

Festival in Bend, Oregon

And since the life there is quite similar from the life in the movies. (in some extent), it’s not that much difficult to  acclimate yourself to the country. 

Visiting Central Oregon

When I was living in Paris, I loved talking to every American I could meet. My favourite question to ask them was “What do you think about Paris?” They often answer “We loved it! But everything is tiny here, the streets, the roads, the hotel rooms!…”

Now I understand why they said that. Everything in the States is big. The way they fully embrace who they are, their view of the world, their trust in you when they adopted you, their shops, their roads, their landscapes, the dangers they can face (we won’t be face to face with a puma or a bear if we walk by ourselves in the countryside in France but they will if they do it in Oregon or California).

Smith Rock State Park

When you’re an European, you’re not really aware of all that the United States can offer you. You mostly know of New York City, California, Las Vegas, Miami and let’s say, Texas. Oregon wasn’t on my list because I didn’t really know about it. I’m grateful that life led me there.

Central Oregon is the perfect place for discovering the countryside. Be sure to have about a month to visit everything.

You can be driving from a warm place in Bend where you can Kayak to a cold place next the 3 sisters and maybe hike on them since they are volcanos.

When you take the road, you’re able to visit many things and encounter many different beautiful places.

Such as water falls.

McKenzie Bridge, Central Oregon, United States

Beautiful people.

Drake Park, Bend, Oregon, United States

And amazing events.

Outdoor event in Smith Rocks, Oregon

This one was actually a classical music concert, Hunter Noack had this amazing idea to bring people outdoor and play them music. I like classical music since this day and thanks to him. It was a precious moment. And I thank you again my family from another country for giving me the opportunity to attend.

I advise anyone who’d love to visit the courntyside, anyone who wants to get off the beaten track or want to be breathless by what they see to try and visit Oregon. If you like hiking and wandering in nature as well as visiting some beautiful cities, this is the place to be.

And again, people will be warmly welcoming you.

Somewhere in Central Oregon

Of course not everyone will be welcoming. I remember taking this picture telling myself « even this dog can see I’m French » because you can see some old republicans (mostly) not being really happy you’re stepping foot in their little town. But apart from that, you have so much to discover, share and receive that it is truly a part of this country I’m going to visit again soon.

And you can be sure of that, United States of America, once this crazy pandemic is over, once you have recovered from the worst fire season you have faced and once you have reopened your frontiers ; I’ll be ready to come back and live as an American once again.

I’d like to thank everyone who welcomed me there again. All those memories – be sure that I didn’t have enough space to share them all with you here – will stay in my heart forever, you changed my view of the world.

Thanks to everyone of you, I finally decided to step into my power and to be an example for everyone around me and for myself as well. They will recognize themselves when they read this. Thank you for your trust, love and kindness.

I hope this article gave you a clear idea of what Oregon has to offer. Let me know in the comments if you already have visited or what you would do there if you go.

Next week we will continue our series on the mind-body connection so be sure to stay tune and if you haven’t alreay, register to the newsletter at the end of the article to receive all the news from the website on your mailbox.

Until then,

« Once a year, go some place you’ve never been before »

Dalaï – Lama

Want to keep reading?

Here’s my article about my visit to Amsterdam, Netherlands : I AMsterdam

You also have my articles about a travel documentary project of mine, the last one is On Being Childlike

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