Midnight Pub

Travel Fatigue and US hospitality


Greetings fellow pub-goers, it's been a while and I'm all traveled out.

Maybe it was an attempt to make up for the lack of going anywhere over the last two years, or just a yearning for being anywhere else -- but after visiting my family earlier this year, going to a wedding in a hot country last month, and spending three weeks just now in the US -- I can safely say that I'm done.

There is only so much walking under the midday summer sun in a hot country that I am willing to do, and I think I'm well past any healthy limit. Plus, I just can't handle takeoff's and landings anymore. It's gotten to the point that I automatically revert into a meditative state where I hum a song to myself with my hands clasped lightly together until the plane levels out.

This post is a long summary of my trip to the US midwest.

Caution: I will make long sweeping generalizations that will likely piss off a lot of people.


I'm used to being in control of my life, knowing where I'm supposed to be at a given time and getting there in the ways that make sense to me, usually independent of Big Brother/Tech.

When you travel in the US, all that is pretty much thrown out of the window. Don't like the Google Services Framework on your phone? Well tough, the public transport system stops working at late hours and Uber/Lyft are your only hope to get home. That or walking, and since I simply could not get these apps to work on my phone, I did a ton of walking, usually at very unsociable hours in the morning.

Friendliness in General

I was expecting people to be cruel and unforgiving, just like the politics that divides the country in twain but found the opposite. I could be sitting alone at a bar reading on my phone, and someone would invite me to join their table of friends. I mean, just, unbelievable friendliness.

Homeless Are Not Swept Away

Where I come from, the police come every night to round up the homeless and place them in centers so that the public don't have to deal with them. They're barred entry from going into shops or libraries, and unless they're playing music, are treated as invisible entities.

It was different there. The homeless were not hidden, they were there in plain sight, hanging out in laundromats, riding the buses, walking the streets, using the libraries, and sleeping on public furniture that wasn't designed to keep them out.

I had breakfast twice with one guy who helped me work the laundromat, spoke with a few at the bus stations, and gave freely my spare change to anyone who asked (for some reason US currency does not feel very real despite being worth the same as EU currency).

The Public Baseline is Cheap and Plentiful

US libraries seem to be really well stocked, open to literally everyone, giving out free WiFi, and plenty of opportunities for families with kids to have a fun day out.

Transport in general seems extremely accessible and cheap during peak hours. Buses came every 10 minutes or so, and if you didn't have the correct change (usually $2 (!!)), the guy just waved you on. He didn't care if you paid or not. I saw this happen to lots of people, in many different buses. The light rail system was similar (again $2(!!)), in the sense that no one actually checked that anyone had bought a ticket.

Getting a free large cup of water at every eating establishment seemed to be the norm, and you could freely use the restrooms in any establishment, even if you weren't a customer. I wish everywhere was like this.

Food and Drink Variety

I had never had Mexican food before, and there seemed to be a culture of microbreweries on practically every street. I have never ate and drank so much in my life. That being said, beer was more expensive than I was used to ( ~ $5 for an ale).

The food was also not as good as I remember it being. Before the trip, I was practically salivating in anticipation of all the good food I would try in memory of a previous trip I'd had before Corona to the West coast.... but to be honest I was really let down by the quality of food in the Midwest. With a few exceptions (a beef skillet burger almost killed me in how rich and fatty it was), the food was just... okay. Large portions, but not really flavorful. I've actually eaten better food in Swiss train stations (albeit, half the portions and double the price).

Fun Characters I met on the way

Media Consumed During Travel

When you're in transit and you have no data, there's very little to do. I downloaded the following media from IRC XDCC networks, Ani-Cli, and Z-lib for books.


I'm glad that I traveled and experience so many different things, but I wish that I didn't need to do anymore this year. I slept 18 hours when I got back yesterday. I watched some mindless TV, kicked my feet back on the sofa, and just messed around with some side projects on my laptop. It was super relaxing.

I still have one more trip this year to do (also to a needlessly hot country), but after that, you could not pry me from the sofa. I will practice more staycations in the future.


Hey ~tetris, and hey ~ew!

I believe I've remarked upon how traveling around the U.S. *can* be a rewarding-yet-stressful experience. In regards to the people I met "out West", when going from St Louis to Montana, everyone was fairly friendly, and accommodating. The stressful elements seemed to revolve around the reliability and consistency of the AmTrak I was on, and a few other things that generally have me wary of domestic travel here (a Greyhound bus in the South is effectively the same as "riding coach", but on ground, and bumpier, and more cramped, and much slower, of course).

I will say that the friendliness of the Midwest, and the Western U.S. in general, is something that might be a bit more unique to that (or this, I am here now) region. I've heard of the "cold" attitudes/demeanor of people in NYC, Chicago, etc., and they all seem like cities that are both lovely in architecture, but likely unbearable in regards to human interaction.

On that, pour another of what ~tetris is having, if you will ~bartender :)

stay well, folks!



Yeah the schedule of the trains and busses weren't fantastic, but somehow I managed to make every connection and I was travelling pretty light so I just had my rucksack.

I haven't interacted much with East Coast people, but I do get the feeling that they're less approachable, or at least less accustomed to sharing a room with a bunch of strangers because their connection was delayed haha. My guess is that if one comes from a culture where everything is punctual and/or expensive, it leaves very little room for sociability and generosity

I'll take a Margerita! First time I tried one!



Hey, ~tetris! Welcome back!

~bartender? Whatever the returned traveler fancies --- it's on me!

Thanks for your report! I will say that

Shall I add a few examples of my own?

I could go on. Only slow travels will make this happen.

Cheers ~tetris, and all you other travelers. May you have surprising encounters!

PS: and yes, there is a point, where it's enough. Has happened to me.



Cheers to you too - and that's awesome -- it's crazy how it just takes one small act of kindness to make someone's day. I wish these sorts of things were reported on more!

The world is so small when you speak with strangers