Faraway from these winter streets

What does it say about the human psyche, I wonder, that as I and my colleague went nuts on Google Street View yesterday, we both automatically went first to places we’d been before. In my case, this was my hotel when I visited New York, Christopher St station, then Ocean Drive, then Fanueil Hall in Boston and so on, in Sam’s case, derelict parts of Detroit that he liked, abandoned cranes and such. It was only after we’d exhausted the availability of places we’d been that we started exploring the far more awesome Death Valley national park, the Walt Whitman bridge in Philadelphia (that had me humming), Lincoln Nebraska (that too) and so on.

Why didn’t I go exploring first? I’ve already seen my hotel in New York, Ocean Drive, etc. What is the point of looking out where I had dinner in Miami, or even where I already have photos of? I suppose first of all it’s the novelty of the street view experience, but beyond that, maybe it speaks of people’s need for the familiar, the insecurity that cause people to stay where they are.

Maybe I’m over-analysing. But I like Street View, because it’s stirred my desires to flex my travelling muscles again: I’m deeply sure that I won’t get to visit America again in the spring (which brings mixed feelings), and so any visits to the States would have to be on my own time and money. I’m pretty resolute that I want to return though: I want to go to Philly, Washington and the East Coast, and drive the Pacific Coast highway in a convertible, and go to the middle of nowhere like Lincoln Nebraska, to tour the deep South and visit Gracelands, Savannah Georgia, Memphis Tenessee, all these. There’s a fascination about America that in scratching the surface of, I’ve only released more of. So I’ll be back, you faraway streets.

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