Tuesday, February 14, 2017

America: Lessons Learnt

SNL: cold open

Exactly one month ago we arrived back from our wonderful trip to North America.  So looking back on our trip and return:

We arrived home on January 14th and had so much Washing,  Filing,  Bill Paying, Apartment based administration, well, it was not at all pleasurable.  We realise our fortunate position  without children or an early Monday morning work commitment, but doing everything to perfection: takes time,

We came back from the USA (oh and Poland) with a host of new equipment that will all have to be carefully evaluated and tested.   What works best will be documented here .. when we have the time

Planning and Execution
I try to reflect on what it takes to make a successful non coach-potato vacation.

First I'd say that a /coach-potato/ vacation suits many people.  You pay a lot of money,  somebody arranges everything, and it's normally a simple flight somewhere, you stay in one place, doing as little as possible, then fly back.

Not really our thing.  We'd prefer daily activity and exercise. Seeing sights and interacting with local people and sampling what is best, well best within our budget.

To make it all work I find

- Agata spends tens maybe hundred of hours researching the possibilities
- Our research always includes what sports events are available, walking and running trails, weather analysis, local attractions
- Nearly all our planning is heavily Internet Dependent
- For every 1 week of planning we'd reckon on at least an equal 1 week of prior research.
- We also realise the importance of AirBnB and Uber  (or similar accommodation and Taxi services).
- Tough but realistic time planning.  Make it tough but not impossible 
- Have a contingency plan in case of Injury
- And finally Money.  If things really goto shit: Perhaps a Robbery,  Serious Injury, Dramatic World events. In this or same, be prepared and be able to spend big to get yourselves out of trouble.

American Motorhomes

A great introduction to US Motorhomes and it was everything we expected in contrast to our current European Motorhome.   A full post to follow, but summarily

- Small US motorhomes are 7 metres plus
- A slideout(s) are commonplace and provide huge improved space and hence livability.  This would be a tremendous plus for longer term Motorhome living
- The Waste Water and Toilet systems in the USA are totally superior to Europe
- Ability to connect to Mains water at campsites is also a US benefit
- US motorhomes typically  have a Generator, so off grid camping is basically painless since you can AC power all your appliances.  Again a big plus.
- It's commonplace to have a propane tank to power the stove and heater(s).  Again, far superior to Europe.
- The typically 'Colonial American' interior of most US motorhomes is to us a total and utter turnoff. It is 2017,  not 1897 people!

In the USA the larger size of roads and parking spaces and space attitude enables a comfortable 7 metre plus motorhome with slide and that allows for many features that are just unavailable on European homes.

Our first Consumer Electronics Show.  We had a thoroughly good time.  Why?
- It was new, and so we learnt the format
- We had good discussions with many trade suppliers
- We saw the differences between Large Exhibitors, Eureka Park Startups,  Asia Sector
- We learnt a lot about Home Automation in 2017
- We came away with knowledge of announcements and trends in 2017

LongBeach and LA

Above is the nicest waterfront house we found in Long Beach California as we participated in a New Years Day Marathon.  I did some research and came up with a 1.2M USD price tag.

Unless more draconian measures are announced by Mr Donald Trump, Europeans are entitled to spend no more than 6 months per year in the USA and so to this cost would be added full-time US property tax, security, utility bills and services if we proposed to live there.

An expensive n+1 property we surmise, perhaps the current government could be more sympathetic to couples wanting to invest their life savings in the USA and provide a legal way for us to reside there 12 months of the year.

And So to Close

Thanks so much America for giving us the chance to visit you, experience the Wilds, and Technology side of America, and talk to the locals, and to spend our hard earned savings with you.

We hope that your future is bright and that the good guys will win in the end

SNL: People's Court