Jane Fahey is beginning to realise why many Americans have yet to go further afield
Imagine never leaving Ireland. As beautiful as it is, there would be no shopping trips to London, no summers in Spain, no winter skiing.
Before, I could never understand the concept of how so many American citizens never obtained a passport (believed to be less than a third). Another element of America I never truly grasped was the sheer magnitude of the country. And herein lies the answer to the mystery.
I think this only hit me as I embarked on my journey to San Francisco. Leaving Shannon airport, we landed in JFK six and half hours later, only to wait for our next connecting flight to San Francisco. Which consisted of an equally long six and a half hour flight. Ireland is as close to New York as I am in San Francisco. America is That big.
When a co worker told me her daughter had moved over one state to Arizona, I taught this was as simple as relocating from Limerick to Dublin. Until she informed me it's a 12hour journey. She is nearly as far from her daughter as I am from home.
There is however, one very amazing plus to such a vast country with so many states.
Last month, I left work early on a Friday hopped on a plane: $150 lighter and an hour and half later I landed in the heart of ‘Sin City’. Las Vegas - Where both dreams and nightmares come true, where the movie ‘Hangover’ becomes a reality instead of a script. Yet I still managed to land back on the runway Sunday night fresh for work Monday morning.
Satisfying my sun and fun fix, we often hop in the car and road trip to Reno (a smaller scale Vegas). Aptly referred to as the "biggest little city", it has the casino, nightclubs and heat of Vegas.
As we head into winter, this weekend we took a trip to lake Tahoe, California's winter playground. Top San Francisco professionals grab their skis, snowboards and jet skis and hit the road for Tahoe. Where a hot tub and heated pool is apparently mandatory for each log cabin. With many celebrities including properties in Tahoe in their extensive portfolios, it’s the perfect escape from hustle and bustle – and the paparazzi, of course!
Back home in San Fran my next planned trip is to Napa, home to California's infamous vineyards. Grapes as far as the eye can see, free wine tasting (they even let the Irish partake). Again, only a tour hour drive in the car if the mood takes you.
Another regular road trip taken from new foggy home in SF is to sunny LA, which takes approximately 5/6 hours. A journey that back home would nearly bring you from top to the bottom of Ireland barely gets you out of one state here. The sandy beaches, blue water and true tequila of Mexico are again "just down the road".
There isn't enough time to see it all and this helps with my understanding of why Americans lack of a passport. They barely have enough time to see all 50 states never mind the rest of Europe.
However, in all the amazing places I've visited and planned to explore there's no place like home. I certainly know we’re well worth the visit.