RANDOM THOUGHTS: USA, BIKE TRAVEL, PORTLAND, COP21

I get some of my international news from the BBC.  They did a feature story of a U.K. doctor who just spent 6 years bicycling around the world.  I thought I accomplished something biking 7 months across the Mediterranean, 6 years– holy shit!  My blog is the simplest of Blog formats.  CYCLINGTHE6.COM was so professional, easy to navigate and very interesting , so I sent the link to nearly everyone I know.  I had one friend write back and asked:
Hey, Jeff,
Do you miss America yet?

I thought about it for a few minutes, then started typing away.  I wanted to share this with the blog.
Dear Tammy:

Let me see where should I start? I miss the election, namely The Trump Show and the sheep who think he’s great.  I really miss driving on the noisy-rutted roads😬.  There’s always the smell of fresh arsenic in the air in my old neighborhood.  How about the Crazies in Malheur County wasting taxpayers time and money.  I haven’t had to drive a car or be stuck in traffic, I really miss that.  I don’t miss my $600 per month, $5,000 co-pay and expensive  prescriptions health insurance. Instead I have $25 per month health insurance, no co-pay and free prescriptions, that’s killing me here too. I really miss the new marijuana laws (that parts true), yet I voted no.  I almost forgot, I really miss tripping over homeless people while walking downtown or on the esplanade.  My $4000  a year property taxes are now $100 a year, and a 2 tier property tax system that is so broken.  I really miss my business of mowing  grass. I appreciate America continuing to borrow money (the national debt) to insure everyone can live the American dream whether they worked for it or not. 1 in 7 people get food stamps, what a system.  I can’t wait to watch the retirement bomb, America’s solution? Continue to work into your 60’s & 70’s.  I haven’t worked in 3 years and am able to be active while I’m somewhat young!?  The separation of the have’s and have not’s is widening with the 1%er’s owning more and more of America, hence it’s not the land of opportunity that it used to be.  Affordable college is an oxymoron, college is free here (go Bernie).  American’s bashing of Obama and government in general, they don’t realize how good they have it.  I’ve been to 23 countries in the past couple years, count your blessings.

Now for the good parts,  I was lucky enough to have a family with some money and they helped me buy an investment property and thanks to Oregon’s booming economy, I can live comfortably here with the rent money.  I was telling Natasa, America’s great if you can figure out the web of opportunities for retirement.  That’s where you need to hire a professional (if you can afford it) to help you navigate the “do it yourself” retirement.
I’m blessed to have met and married Natasa.  My life has taken a turn for the better, for sure, countries aside.
Thanks for making me write this letter, I’ll probably post it on my Blog.
If you want to visit, we have an AIR B&B.
Thanks for your help with Preserving Oregon’s roads, say hi to Jeff and crew.
Jeff
There’s a lot to be missed about America.   A country with that much influence around the  world needs to be a true leader.  The U.S. government is being held hostage by the right wing Republican Senate.  COP 21, the World Climate Summit in Paris, was a place where America could show itself as a world leader.  My opinion on the “Agreement” on Climate Change, it has no substance.  Governments around the world tax tobacco to discourage use.  A carbon tax on energy is the solution that is needed to discourage over use of fossil fuels. Raising money for the  impending costs associated with Climate Change is imperative.  Climate Change refugees are a reality, as islands slowly succumb to a rising ocean, there needs to be money to help these new refugees.  If at COP21 there was an agreement to raise an energy tax, it would have been blocked by Republicans in America.  When you pay something, you understand the issue a little more.  With no sacrifices, there will basically be no “motivation” to promote: mass transit, alternative energy, biking.  Americans $20 trillion debt is living proof that they are living a life on someone else’s money.
America’s trade deficit in 2015 was $44.5 billion.  They use to blame  the deficit on high imported oil prices.  With record low oil prices the trade deficit has grown 4.5% this past year.  America’s borrowing is fueling a consumption level that is environmentally unsustainable.  America’s attitude of entitlement is also unsustainable, both financially and environmentally.  The consumption economy of “bigger and more” is killing the planet.  China’s latest solution to it’s economic slowdown is to encourage a “new” consumption economy. There’s no considerations from the agreements at COP21, the agreement was a paper tiger.  China’s 1.3 billion people, living like Americans?  The young generation is being so screwed over by the money people who are in power.  Even Warren Buffet, an american investor, thinks Climate Change is nothing to worry about, yea if your 85 years old, like him.
About 3 years into his 6 year cycling trip Dr Stephen Fabes, rode up the California coast.  California has the 8th largest economy in the world, so you would expect to see the best of opportunities in America.  But Stephen’s analysis of opportunity in America is interesting:
The upward mobility in the US that people have historically and rightly been so proud, AKA ‘The American Dream’, has dwindled and comparatively the US is less a land of opportunity than many other developed nations, including most of Europe. If you were born in the seventies in the US and into the lower 5th of the socioeconomic spectrum, your chance of making it into the top two fifths are about 15%, less than other places. For me though, as an outsider, the saddest thing is that people still believe the American dream is a reality mainly I suppose because canny advertisers still promote it and play on the fact that people want to believe it.
I really respect Dr. Stephen Fabes and his bike tour.  Being educated in medicine allowed him to interact and help people he met while biking around the world.  He visited Portland and claimed it was one of his favorite places in America.  He participated in Pedalpalooza and The World Naked Bike Ride., both of these events  help define Portland’s unique Bike Culture.  I wrote about Portland’s Bike Culture HERE.
I had to get this stuff off my mind and into a readable format, so there it is.   I hope you liked it?  I like more to write about biking and travel.  I also wonder into writing about living here in Skofja Loka & Slovenia.  I’ve got a great blog post I’ve been working on about Skofja Loka & Ljubljana.  Natasa and I went to Venice Italy for our honeymoon and it also overlapped with Valentines day,  AAAHHH.  I wanted to give Venice another opportunity to show me what’s so great about it.  Well we had a good time, but I knew there was more I wanted to see.  So when we came home I said I wanted to go spend more time on Murano and the other islands too.  Her response “next year.”  I looked at her and said no I want to go in the next week or so, it’s only a 2 1/2 hour drive.  So the mayor of Skofja Loka cancelled my appointment with him, I saw an opportunity to go and I did.  I was searching for a ride share website and I found one BLABLACar.  I’ll write more about it when I do the  Venice blog post.
I promise fun stories and some great photos of Slovenia and Venice very soon.

Thanks for reading.
Jeff

 

2 thoughts on “RANDOM THOUGHTS: USA, BIKE TRAVEL, PORTLAND, COP21

  1. Kathryn Reder

    Hi, Jeff. I enjoyed this post. I read some of the blog by the doctor and honestly, I like the way you do yours much better. He rambled on and on and I faded out. I feel you have a lot to say but say it succinctly and thoughtfully. And your pictures are great, not only showing what you see but who you meet. Smiles all around. And 6 years is no “better” than 7 months, honestly! You’re still traveling around the globe – just more time in a specific place.

    Our country and planet are going through interesting times and I no longer see things as American vs some other place on the planet. We’re all in this together. The refugees who are fanning across the globe, the climate change and heat increasing everywhere, the reactivity of people as they are trying to adjust and on and on. The thought, “wherever you go, there you are” keeps coming to mind.

    I’ve not been able to get responses from you from my comments so send me an email sometime and a hug to Natasha.

    Reply
  2. jeffsbiketour Post author

    I read all your comments and truly appreciate them, your my number one com mentor. Sorry if I haven’t responded, it’s hard just to get a blog posted. I try to keep busy here, I can see why people stay working, having as much freedom as I have now is hard work. I’ve tried to be politically active here, I met with our mayor yesterday. I think politicians are the same around the world, good talkers, not so good on getting stuff done. . Thanks again for reading the blog I’m glad you like the photos. I’ve got some good photos for my next couple posts. BTW when are you coming to Skofja Loka? I here there’s a nice AIR B&B here.

    Reply

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