1. Early Travel

November 1965

This is my first trip outside of the states of
Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Missouri. My sister
has just returned from Stuttgart, Germany where her
husband has been stationed in the US army. My mother
arranged for me to get out of school to travel with
Barbara to Baltimore to pick up her Volkswagen. Even
though I've traveled to Chicago many times by train,
this time was different. I know this is the beginning
of a lifetime of travel! As I watched the farmhouses
and cities pass by outside the window of the train I
was able to imagine the people inside those houses
multiplied millions of times over around the world.
Suddenly the prospect of traveling further than I ever
traveled before made me aware of the immense
possibilities this vast planet holds for anyone brave
enough to search them out.

The trip by train from Chicago to Washington, D.C. now
seems like a long dream. My nose was pressed to the
window much of the time. Every mile of track was
uncharted territory. I was so afraid I would miss
something if I turned away at the wrong moment. We ate
sandwiches made with leftover turkey from
Thanksgiving. We wove our way through small farm towns
lightly dusted with snow, then turned slightly south
to encounter freezing rain. Pittsburgh made the
biggest impression, although not a good one. It was
wrapped in a cold winter darkness that was broken by
the glaring lights of steel mills and silhouettes of
smokestacks. I became depressed and decided to try to

I was occasionally awakened by the screeching of the
wheels as we wound our way through cold snowy
mountains. I was sad that my first time on a mountain
was in total darkness. When we arrived in Washington
D.C. we had to change trains to Baltimore. I had just
enough time to walk outside the entrance of Union
Station where I could see the Capitol Building.
Something wonderful happened to me in that brief
encounter with the majestic architecture of the
nation's capital. My metaphorical umbilical cord was
severed forever. I was released into a life that was
of my own choosing.   

Miami Beach, June 10, 1966

I can't tell you how exciting it is to be on my second
trip outside of the midwest in seven months. We had to
leave the interstate highway in several parts of the
South because the highway is still not finished. I
never knew there were still so many poor black people
in America! There were moments when I was really
ashamed to be an American. I couldn't believe we still
have this kind of poverty in our country. It was like
nothing I've ever seen in Illinois!

When we were driving onto Miami beach I could see the
ocean from the street. It looked like it rose above
the horizon held back by some kind of magical force.
The next morning I ran out to lie on the beach. I was
probably there less than 10 minutes before I heard a
hurricane warning on the radio of a fellow sunbather.
They said it would be one of the earliest hurricanes
ever. Her name was Alma.

On the third day as everyone else was running around
frantically I was talking to Mother from a pay phone
near the beach. I wanted her to hear the full force of
the wind. I think it was a mistake. I think she was
really worried about my safety. As I stood there
talking to her I could see workmen removing all of the
traffic lights suspended from cables in the middle of
the intersections. The supermarkets were swamped with
people buying bread, water and other necessities. Many
of the shelves were empty already. People were
boarding up their windows with plywood and removing
everything that wasn't tied down.

On the night of our third day the full force of the
storm hit Miami Beach. The center of the hurricane
passed somewhere south of Key West, so we were lucky.
It was impossible to sleep because of the shrill
whistling sound coming through the cracks in the
doorway. We stuffed newspapers in the cracks to lessen
the sound. The next morning the sun was shinning and
everything was calm again. The road to the south was
covered with sand and there were many trees and power
lines down. We were lucky that Alma was just a few
miles per hour above the force that separates a
hurricane from a tropical storm. I am grateful for the
experience. I can't remember too many times in my life
that provided that kind of drama! It was very

June 20, 1966

Today is Larry's birthday. A few days after hurricane
Alma passed by we decided to take a small ship to the
island of Bimini in the Bahamas. It's the only way to
get there without a private yacht. We got to stay
overnight and return the next day. I was really
excited that we were going to Bimini. I know the
island from a song we sing in the choir in high
school. There is a line in the song that goes, "big
fat mama from Bimini town."

I was hypnotized on the trip to Bimini. It was the
first time I was on a body of water where land was not
visible in any direction. I remember wondering how it
was ever possible for any sailor to have believed the
earth was flat! As the ship parted the water there
were flying fish that seemed to be hurled out across
the surface in both directions. It was like something
from a fairy tale. As we approached Bimini the water
was unbelievably beautiful because of the reefs below
the surface.

The island was very narrow and long. The widest part
of the island is 700 yards and it's about 7 miles from
one end to the other. There was one road down the
middle called King's Highway and very few cars. At the
point were we stayed it was possible to stand in the
middle and yell to be heard on both sides of the
island. There was a small bakery that made fresh bread
several times a week. The only way you know there is
bread is when you smell it baking! Ask a local about
schedules and they laugh and tell you they are on
Bimini time!

Los Angeles, June 6, 1967

Larry and I drove straight through from Danville to
Los Angeles. There were still parts of the old route
66 that have not been converted to an Interstate
Highway yet. I think I enjoyed some of the old route
more than the new one, because I could imagine Tod and
Buz driving their Corvette. Of course Larry and I in a
big yellow Pontiac Bonneville convertible is not quite
the same! We left Danville immediately after my
graduation. We are getting good at taking turns
driving while the other one sleeps. It was pretty
exciting driving farther west than I've ever been
before. There was nothing really spectacular until we
reached the desert. It was pretty cool seeing oil
wells in Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle. I've added
Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and
California to list of states I've conquered now.

What a thrill it is too see real mountains for the
first time. Not those old worn down east coast
mountains, but real pointed peaks that rise up on the
horizon. They defy time and distance. You keep driving
down the road toward them and they seem to remain
unattainable. Sometimes it seems you are driving on a
conveyer belt that keeps your wheels turning in place.
Then suddenly you are upon them, turning left, then
right, then left again as your engine strains to get
up a steep grade that's an optical illusion that seems
like a flat surface. Then there's a sign that says
View Point. The view is spectacular. As far as you can
see there is nothing but desert and more mountains in
the distance. This is the moment you realize that
deserts are nature's way of protecting large parcels
of land from being destroyed by human occupation. The
most beautiful aspect to the desert is its ability to
create breathtaking beauty with simplicity.

When we arrived in Santa Monica I was surprised at how
cold and foggy it is. I had always thought of
California as sunny and hot like Florida. The
newspaper racks along the beach all scream with
headlines about war between Israel and Egypt. I feel
like it is all a million miles away. I am impressed at
how all the cars stop when you stand on the curb to
cross the street. California seems like a very
civilized place where everyone is accepted. There is a
song about San Francisco played continually on the
radio. It say's if your going to San Francisco be sure
to wear some flowers in your hair. I want to go to San
Francisco. Larry says no!

July 20, 1969

Greetings from New York City!

Today I watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. I was
in Greenwich Village for the day. I noticed all these
people standing in front of a store window where a TV
had been placed in the window. Some people actually
think it was all staged in a studio in Hollywood. I'll
bet they also think the world is flat.

Larry has been good about letting me skip all the
skating competition on Long Island. I learned how to
get into the city by train. The first time I was
really scared I would get lost. I just followed all
the crowds. When most of the people got onto a train I
got on. When most of the people got off of the train I
got off. I met Sharron Wright for lunch. She told me
she had accidentally gotten caught up in a
demonstration for homosexual rights. I'm not sure if
she was trying to shock me or if she was giving me an
opportunity to tell her Larry and I are a couple. I
want to tell her, but Larry would kill me! I've seen
some posters in the Village about some riots that
happened last month. It's so exciting to think that
people can talk about this so openly. Maybe I belong
in a place like New York. Imagine what would happen if
we marched for homosexual rights in Danville!

In many ways I feel like I do in Chicago. It's so
great to get lost among millions of strangers. I just
can't get caught up in the fear of crime like most
people do when they come to a big city. To me it feels
like such a small risk compared to being openly gay in
Danville, Illinois. There are so many ways to become
invisible here. You can do whatever you want in front
of everyone and chances are nobody you know will see

Key West, February 22, 1975

Sitting on the dock with a warm February breeze
blowing through my hair, it's easy to see why
Hemingway chose Sloppy Joe's bar nearby as his
favorite hangout. Here, just a short walk from Key
West's night life is the gateway to the rest of the
world. To my right is a ship with the word PANAMA
spelled out across the side. Knowing that this ship
has the capacity to dock in foreign ports makes me
aware of all the cultures and people who may be
standing on shores that share the same body of water
at my own feet. The shimmer of moonlight on the water
and the stars in the sky make me wonder how many
people on other shores are looking out on the sea with
the same questions and imagination that fill my own

I have hitchhiked all day to get here from Fort
Lauderdale. I just needed to get away where no one
could find me. I needed to see if it's possible for me
to be so free that I can go on impulse without
answering or explaining to anyone else. It feels good!
Maybe one day I'll get the courage to get on one of
these ships and sail off to an exotic foreign land.
But first I need to get out of a relationship where my
partner has such a narrow view of what is possible in
the world. I truly think I'm a gypsy reincarnated!

Washington, D.C. January 20, 1977

Today is my 28th birthday. I went to the inauguration
parade for President Jimmy Carter today. As we stood
in the cold waiting for the Carter's limousine there
were rumors that the Carters had gotten out of the
limo and were walking down Pennsylvania Avenue to the
White House. I was so excited when they appeared in
the street holding hands, Rosalynn in her blue coat.
Later I attended one of the People's inaugural
celebrations. I know some are critical of Carter's
attempt to open the inaugural process to all the
people, but I think it's great. It made me feel like
I'm important too.

This is my traditional letter to myself on my
birthday. This past year has been a huge
transformational juncture in my life. Moving to D.C.
has put me in an environment I could never have
imagined existed in the world. I am changed daily by
the overwhelming energy that emanates from this
international center of power. I feel humbled by the
enormous importance of what happens here. Everyday I
feel like I'm a part of history. When I lived in
Florida I decided I want to live for a time in as many
major world cities as possible before I die. I
realized how different and challenging Florida was
compared to Danville and Illinois. Now Florida looks
as backward and conservative as Danville looked when I
moved from there. I think this will be the experience
as I move along in this adventure. I just can't
imagine going back to places that are less open and

I learned a very important lesson in the last few
months. I have a new friend I respect very much. He is
much more open about being Gay than I am. Will
confronted me one day about what he described as my
"internalized homophobia." At first it was an idea
that seemed ridiculous to me. How could a Gay man be
homophobic? His observation was in response to a
comment I made about someone being "too effeminate."
Will has a way of confronting ignorance by opening a
door to an opportunity for being educated. He was
sensitive to the fact that I would feel assaulted by
the truth. He took me by the hand and lead me to a
place where I can love myself better. This is what I
want from my new life. I believe the basic foundation
of a good life is to recognize that we are here to
change, to evolve. Otherwise, why be alive?

Here in D.C. I think it's important to have open
dialog about prejudices. I live in a city that is
about 80% Black. For me it feels really familiar,
since I went to a grammar school that was about the
same ratio. What's great for me is to experience the
open support of Black D.C. politicians for Gay rights.
There is a recognition on their part of the
similarities between our struggles. I am sometimes
ashamed that the understanding is not shared by some
of the all white members of the leading Gay
organizations. We have a long way to go.             

Washington D.C. 1979

One evening as I was cooking in my apartment I heard
what sounded like gunshots from 17th Street. I can see
the street from the double doors in the kitchen of my
condo. Soon there were police cars along with many
other official looking vehicles on 17th Street between
P Street and Massachusetts Avenue. The area on the
east side of the street was roped off and I could see
a covered body which was later removed. I am always
concerned with violence in the neighborhood, so I
called the police station and searched the newspapers
all week to get information on what had actually
happened. I finally gave up when an irate police
official yelled at me over the phone. He sounded like
he thought I was some kind of crazy person with an
obsession about crime. I got the same reaction from
the newspapers. There is no record of anything
happening on 17th street. This disturbs me more than
if they had given me information on what had actually

Since moving to D.C. I have witnessed many things I
would never have seen in Illinois. When the murder
took place outside my window I couldn't help but
remember the bombing of a car just three years ago on
Mass. Avenue, just a few blocks away on Embassy Row on
the other side of Dupont Circle. It was the murder of
a Chilean dissident, Orlando Letelier and an American
woman, Ronni Moffitt. It's amazing that I remember
their names now three years later. That's how deeply I
was affected by something so tragic happening in my
own back yard.

I am involved in the planning of a national March on
Washington for Lesbian and Gay rights this October. My
involvement in this historic civil rights march has
opened doors, or perhaps I should say windows to
understanding and seeing how this city and country
really work. As a child I remember sitting on the
living room floor during the presidential election in
1956 when our candidate was Adlai Stevenson. My mother
allowed me to stay up into the early morning hours
until the votes were counted. At the age of seven the
concept of democracy seemed very simple and honest to
me. But I do remember my mother's cynical words: "if
you're not a crook when you go into politics, you will
be when you come out!" Now I am getting a taste of
what she meant from the inside out. There is a big
machine that oversees the entire democratic apparatus.
Either you play by its rules or you get chewed into
tiny pieces as you get pulled into the turning gears.
There is something that becomes clearer to me as each
day passes here in the national capital. When I
witness a murder on the street outside my window and
the body disappears without a trace, there is
something very wrong with my original concept of
democracy. Now I feel the people whom I have trusted
with my life and my future are somehow involved in
something dark and evil. I came here to learn about
politics. The more I learn the more I realize it is
not a life for me.

Bahamas, March, 1980

Day one:

I am in Hope Town on a small island in the Bahamas
just off of the island of Great Abaco. It all began
with a routine bus ride from my apartment on P Street
to a weekly job in Georgetown. Each week I stand in
the isle of a crowded bus hanging onto the overhead
bar talking with Eddy Johnson, a hairstylist with a
salon, Edward's, in Georgetown. Eddy is a friend of
Gabrielle, my best friend Francesco's partner. Eddy
mentioned that one of his wealthy clients gives him
the use of her summer house in the Bahamas for the
month of March each year. He asked if I'd like to come
for a visit this year. I said yes before I could even
think about it. It's just an offer that can't be
refused on a cold February morning in Washington, D.C.

I had to change planes in Miami. The plane to Great
Abaco looked like something that had been retired from
service in the Second World War. I didn't mind though,
because it gave the trip an air of adventure. We
landed on a small air strip with a thatched roof hut
at one end. I endured the usual suspicion as the
customs official carefully checked every seam in my
baggage. Then I climbed into a taxi for my very first
ride in an automobile driven on the left side of the
road. Just before sunset we arrived at a small wooden
dock where a tiny fishing boat was waiting for me.
There were three other tourists already seated in the
boat. I took the last available seat.

The combined weight of the passengers and luggage
forced the boat to displace more water than was
planned for such a small boat. As the outboard motor
slowly pushed us toward our destination I had the
illusion of sliding across a great sheet of ice. The
surface of the ocean was so calm and clear it was
difficult to discern where the sea ended and the sky
began. Then the sun began to sink in the west. As it
slid beneath the horizon the border between heaven and
earth was now clearly defined. Like a huge bright
orange circle being tucked into an envelope, the sun
slipped through the line that divides reality from
dreams. I was unsure about whether I was about to
embark in heaven or on earth.

The fisherman knew my friend Eddy and offered to take
me directly to the house. There was a small boathouse
that jutted out into the water on a wooden dock. There
stood Eddy, waiting with open arms.

Day two:
It was in the airport in Miami that I realized the
tremendous significance of this trip. This is the
first time I've traveled alone, anywhere. I've only
been out of the country once before in 1966, when
Larry and I took the boat to Bimini. I can't help but
feel this is a testing of the waters for adventures to
come. My biggest dream since I was a child is to
travel to Africa. One day I will do it! Of this I am

Last night Eddy and I slept in the boathouse. The full
moon, along with the excitement of being here, made it
difficult to go to sleep at first. Just across the bay
is a red and white candy-striped lighthouse that
definitely adds to the dreamlike fantasy of this
adventure. It didn't take long for the gentle rhythm
of the surf lapping against the side of the boathouse
to pull the last conscious thoughts out of my head.
The warm moist heat surrounded me like a weightless
blanket that protected me from thoughts of the cold
March winds back home. Here I am free to go wherever
my boundless imagination wants to take me. I have
broken a link in the chain that allowed me to believe
my possibilities have defined borders. Last night I
walked on the moonbeams that cast a golden pathway
across the water. In the distance I could see
unfulfilled dreams waiting to be realized. For the
first time I understood that the only boundaries that
separate me from my dreams are the ones I mistakenly
believe to be real.

Washington, D.C. Summer, 1980

One evening Rob and I were walking our dog in front of
our home near Dupont Circle. A car came to the
stoplight and I noticed the two young men inside
seemed very interested in Rob and I. The driver rolled
down his window, hanging his head out. "Hey, are you
guys Faggots?" He kept turning back to the passenger
laughing as he repeated the question. We were supposed
to ignore them so they would just go away. Inside my
blood was boiling though. Just a few weeks before we
were accosted as we were walking home from a
restaurant. Rob had lost it and began to cry. I wanted
so badly for these guys to just go away. I didn't want
Rob to feel we have to live in fear every time we walk
out the door. When the light changed they sat there
though, repeating the question. I was tired of making
them invisible. I was tired of cowering in fear of
violence, playing the part of the scared little
homosexuals. I turned to face them and said to
sentences very politely. "Yes, we are gay! What are
you?" He turned his car around in the middle of the
street, tires screeching, and then drove straight
toward us on the sidewalk! Rob ran inside to call the
police. I stood in front of our apartment building
waiting for the police to arrive. The two men
returned, driving once again on the sidewalk. I picked
up a huge stone from the garden next door and threw it
breaking their windshield. I could no longer run away
and allow this to continue through the rest of my
life. Now I was determined to fight back!

Soon a secret service policeman from the White House
arrived. Someone on the next street had stopped him to
report a car driving on the sidewalk. I explained to
him what had happened and he seemed very sympathetic.
He radioed the license tag number to the D.C. police
and they caught the two boys at Dupont Circle. They
sent a car to pick up Rob and I to identify them. When
we arrived the policewoman told us she was going to
arrest us for assault with a deadly weapon. The secret
service policeman talked with her then came back to
talk with Rob and I alone. He said if we would forget
the whole thing we could all go home and the two boys
would have to pay for a new windshield. I was familiar
with what came next. The most important thing is that
the heterosexual is never arrested for attacking a gay
man. This could be construed as condoning
homosexuality! In their warped logic they actually
believed we deserved to be attacked. In the entire
discussion it was never suggested that trying to run
over two gay men walking on the sidewalk was assault
with a deadly weapon! And when we responded to an
unprovoked attack we are accused of assault, but the
word assault was never used to describe their attacks
against us. They believe we have provoked it by being
too gay or too obvious. So my decision to stop
cowering, to stand up to them was of no use. I was
required to let the two young men go home without
punishment or we would all go to jail. We are not
allowed to defend ourselves, we cannot count on the
police to protect us, so the only acceptable solution
in this insidious system is for us to pretend to be
who we are not. That I do not accept!

Gorman, California, January 5, 1982

Tomorrow is what Rob calls Little Christmas. We have
spent the last 9 days driving a 14 foot truck across
the United States from Washington, D.C. to California.
Tomorrow morning we begin the last leg of our journey
that will bring us to our dream house in the middle of
the Castro in San Francisco. After a four month bout
with Hepatitis B this was not an easy trip for me. At
the end of every day I had a splitting headache and
threw up before dinner each night. But tonight I feel
great. The thought of being in our own home tomorrow
afternoon has had a calming effect. I can see the
light at the end of the tunnel.

I am glad to leave D.C. behind us! When I think back
on my plan to learn about politics first hand, I'd say
I succeeded with flying colors. Now there are things I
wish I didn't know. I want to be as far away from
Reagan as possible. I want to give all my attention to
my relationship with Rob, then maybe I can experience
the bliss of ignorance by way of distraction. I fear
for my country! The last year was like a dark cloud
had descended upon D.C.  

Milan, Italy, May 1986

When our plane was landing in London I could see
thatched roofed cottages from the air. This is my
first impression of Europe. I was impressed when a
punk maintenance man with a purple Mohawk haircut came
on to clean the plane before the continuation of our
flight to Frankfurt. When I came out of the U-Bahn
station in Frankfurt I was astonished by the number of
people on the street who resembled members of my
family. This was the first time I understood the
concept of European tribes. Growing up in America had
never given me the opportunity to see that entire
nations of people could have the same kind of kindred
connections I had with only my immediate family.

On the way to Milan we stopped in Munich for a few
days. On the plane I had a conversation with a couple
from New Zealand. We were discussing the pros and cons
of nuclear power plants. His wife took the same
position that I took. We believed there must be a
safer more ecological alternative. The husband argued
in favor of nuclear power. As we ended the
conversation I told him that one day a terrible
nuclear accident might change his mind.

In the newspaper racks in Milan we saw headlines that
spoke of Hiroshima and the Soviets in the same
sentence. We asked Francesco to explain when he came
home that evening. It turned out that Chernobyl was
happening at the same moment we were having our
nuclear debate on the plane. Now they were warning
people in Germany to avoid dairy products because of
radiation. It was too late for us. We had already
eaten our fill in Munich. Why is it that my first big
adventures across borders always coincide with major

Munich, West Germany

December 29, 1988

Of all the places I've been in Europe I'd have to say
that Germany invented the kind of Christmas I remember
from my childhood. Rob and I have been on a Christmas
journey through Hungary, Austria and Bavaria to visit
organizations that help people with AIDS. I believe
Americans have forgotten the real meaning of
Christmas. On Christmas Eve Rob and I were taken to
Oberndorf, Austria, to a midnight mass at the church
where the song Stille Nacht (Silent Night) was first
performed in 1818. I cried as the congregation stood
at the stroke of twelve and sang the song that my
grandmother taught me to sing in German as a child.
The song was accompanied by guitars. We sat in the
church rectory at 2:00 AM eating wurst (sausage) soup
with the priests and nuns.

In Salzburg, on Christmas day, we lit real candles on
a tree that had been cut the day before. On Christmas
day we drove to a ski resort in the Alps where we sat
in a hot springs pool outside as snow flakes fell upon
our heads. On the day after Christmas we were taken on
a tour of all the churches in Salzburg. Our host Roman
played the organs in each of the churches. He was an
organist for the Catholic church and had keys to all
the churches. I am impressed at how the emphasis in
Germany is on something other than materialism. Each
person receives one gift that is inexpensive and very
personal. It is obvious that the major element in each
gift was the thought behind it, not the cost. On the
days leading up to Christmas we would casually stroll
through the Christkindlmarkt (Christmas Market)
drinking Gluhwein (hot mulled wine). The center of
each village has its own market where hand crafted
decorations and specialty foods are sold. Here there
is a very conspicuous absence of the kind of stress
that is evident in the final days of American
Christmas shopping. I don't remember exactly when the
real Christmas spirit was lost in America. Perhaps it
was when we began to measure the financial success of
our economy by determining how many people bought
totally unnecessary things as meaningless gifts to
give to people we don't even like the rest of the

Munich, West Germany
May, 1989

This is the first time I have actually lived outside
the United States. Since leaving Illinois in 1973 I've
never found a place that reminds me of home like
Bavaria does. Of course we didn't have snow capped
mountains in Illinois. The attitude and habits of the
people here remind me of my childhood. Once the older
people understand I have German roots they are all
ready to adopt me as their kin. In some ways it feels
like the clock stopped somewhere in the late 1950s.
Last weekend Erich, Martin and I drove to the
countryside to visit friends. We all drove to a small
church perched on top of a hill where we played hide
and seek with a 6 year old girl. I find myself
constantly thinking of my grandmother and her white
Victorian house on Collett Street. I see her image in
many of the white haired German women in Munich. The
flowers, the smell of grass, the celebration of
springtime after a long hard winter all remind me of
home. Until now I never realized how much influence
German immigrants have had on life in Central

Erich works weekdays, so I am left to wander the
streets of Munich. My favorite place is the Alte
Pinakothek museum. There is a painting that draws me
back again and again. It was painted in 1500 by
Albrecht Dürer. The title of the painting is
"Self-Portrait in a Fur Trimmed Coat". I sit before
this work of art for hours at a time. I am spellbound!
I think his soul is inside the painting speaking to
me. I've never felt this way about art before. I have
had an awakening of some sort.

I am obsessed with the details of the painting. His
left eye is open wider than his right. The pointing
finger on his right hand seems oddly narrow at the
end. I've come to believe it is a true representation
of his imperfection. The reddish-brown curls flow onto
his shoulders and I am sure if I were allowed to touch
them they would feel soft with exactly the right
amount of oil to be healthy. His lips are pursed,
framed in a neatly trimmed mustache and beard. His
coat is elegant and soft to the touch. There is
something sad and serious about him. I feel as if I
know him. I keep coming back to try to understand what
it is he wants to say to me.

Munich, June 1989

I have learned many things about myself in the last 6
weeks. There is this part of me that gets very
defensive about America when I am confronted with
Martin's irrational hatred of Americans. He says I'm
an exception. But there are also so many things about
Germany that absolutely drive me crazy. I have to be
very careful that I don't become the American
equivalent of Martin. My relationship with Germany is
such a dysfunctional love/hate relationship. There are
so many criticisms of the States that seem to have
some valid foundation. I find it really hard to get
beyond the generalizations though. To lump a whole
group of people into one category together is
prejudice, pure and simple. Even though I see many of
the points Martin brings up, when he generalizes about
Americans I go into automatic defensive mode! Maybe
one reason this feels so much like home is because
Bavaria teaches some of the same kinds of prejudices I
learned in Illinois. It's going to be a rough ride,
but that's why I want to travel the world. I want to
break down all of the misconceptions I have about
other cultures. Already, I feel like a man without a