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View Full Version : A cool story and why the media sucks


Mike ODonnell
08-20-2007, 01:26 PM
I thought this was a really cool story....he may have been in the news, I have no idea since I boycott most all mainstream media and TV since it really provides nothing positive for anything in life (except the discovery channel and Family Guy that is)....but a really cool story none the less.

By Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff

Chris Aandewiel is a Dutch man with a well-worn mountain bike who slept this past weekend at the YMCA on Huntington Avenue. He has pedaled some 11,000 miles in the last year searching for the truth about Americans.

Growing up in Rotterdam, Aandewiel had an impression of this country shared by many in the Netherlands, an image formed by Hollywood movies and the media.

"We really think of Americans as how we perceive the United States government, and that's a little arrogant and stubborn," Aandewiel said by telephone.

Or at least that was the impression the 29-year-old consumer researcher had before he embarked on a yearlong bicycle tour around the perimeter of the United States. Since September, he has passed through 35 states, spent the night in the homes of 72 strangers, and met hundreds of people in gas stations and on highways who have nudged him along on his trip.

There was the couple in the motor home who overheard that his wallet was stolen in Fort Morgan, Ala., and gave him money until he could get a wire transfer from the Netherlands. Or the family in Minneapolis that paid for him to stay overnight at a Hampton Inn. And the two guys in Austin, Texas, who let him sleep on their couch while he waited for new credit cards to be shipped from home.

Aandewiel landed on Sept. 14, 2006, at Kennedy International Airport in New York City, put his bicycle together near the baggage claim, and started pedaling. He went south down the Atlantic Seabord, cut across the Florida panhandle, and on to California. Aandewiel saw snow in the desert in Texas and New Mexico, survived a flood, and came within 20 miles of a tornado, he said. Along the way, he saw coyotes, bald eagles, blue whales, black bears, a condor, and a moose.

Now, reflecting on his trip from the YMCA, he says he has some 300 miles left to go. He plans to pedal to New York City and fly home on Sept. 11. He remembered the lunches and dinners and hot showers.

"After being here, I really think that [Americans] aren't that different than the Dutch," Aandewiel said. "In fact, I really think they are friendlier -- and really more helpful than Dutch people."
http://www.boston.com/news/globe/city_region/breaking_news/2007/08/after_11000_mil.html

Scott Kustes
08-20-2007, 05:44 PM
That's awesome. I've had a wild hair lately (not the first time for this particular wild hair) to figure out how to take 6 months and hike the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Katahdin, Maine. Then I realized I'd also like to do the Pacific Crest Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, and the Sea to Sea Route.

Derek Simonds
08-20-2007, 06:00 PM
If you decide to do the Appalachian let me know me and my son might join you for a part of it.

Allen Yeh
08-21-2007, 03:12 AM
Cool story.

Mike ODonnell
08-21-2007, 06:46 AM
I'm in GA....I would love to try that at some point...not sure I could do 6 months worth....would have too much modern society fast paced constant stimulation withdrawl....probably after day 1.....

William Hunter
08-21-2007, 07:05 AM
I'm in North GA. I could meet you guys with a cooler full of Guinness as a send off. Might want to wait for the drought to be over though, the Black Bears have been quite restless and testy lately.

Robert Allison
08-21-2007, 07:45 AM
I hope to do the AT soon... maybe next year. I have heard that by using the ultralight concepts pioneered by Ray Jardine, it is possible to thru-hike the entire trail in 3-4 months.

I'm in Western North Carolina... let me know if and when you are coming through.

On a somewhat similar theme, check out A Map For Saturday (http://www.amapforsaturday.com/), a documentary about a guy spending a year vagabounding around the world.

After watching that, I realized that the only thing really keeping me from pursuing my travel goals was my excuses.

Mike ODonnell
08-21-2007, 08:28 AM
Bears? Guinness?....Hmmmmm....maybe we all just need to get together with a keg and watch the Nature Channel.....would be so much easier.

Scott Kustes
08-21-2007, 09:10 AM
It would be great to have companions. I'm interested in ultralight hiking. I'd probably forgo much in the way of cookable food for jerky, nuts, and other lightweight, high energy fare (like Snicker's, M&Ms, and Three Musketeers for some healthy carbs). It's going to be awhile before that's an option for me though...I still have a used Corvette's worth of debt to pay back for my year at Notre Dame.

Mike, you don't have to go 6 straight months anyway. There are towns along the way where you can stop, restock, take a shower, even sleep in a bed for a night if you desire.

I bet all those bears are being attracted there by the menstrual cycles of the nearby women. (Name it!)

Jonathan Owen
08-21-2007, 06:19 PM
Brick Tamlin, Anchorman!

John Alston
08-22-2007, 06:12 AM
I think my friend met this guy in NYC a little while ago. Who knew that he'd become a news story... If I remember the story from her, he expressed a desire to bike through the roughest parts of the city, and he liked how different everyone was from each other, way more so than in Holland.

Mike, the media sucks because you find this story in a news media source? I don't get your headline.

William Hunter
08-22-2007, 06:15 AM
Well, having grown up in Brooklyn, NY I'd advise him to avoid a few areas.

If he has any desire to keep his bike that is.

Mike ODonnell
08-22-2007, 08:16 AM
Mike, the media sucks because you find this story in a news media source? I don't get your headline.

Sorry didn't clarify that....as I have a bias towards not liking mainstream media (aka TV, Reality TV shows, News reports nightly, etc)...was more in response to:

Growing up in Rotterdam, Aandewiel had an impression of this country shared by many in the Netherlands, an image formed by Hollywood movies and the media.

"We really think of Americans as how we perceive the United States government, and that's a little arrogant and stubborn," Aandewiel said by telephone.

Troy Archie
08-22-2007, 08:22 AM
I think most people would greatly benefit from seeing their own country, let alone another one. I've backpacked a great deal of Australia, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia and now that I'm back here in Canada I realize I've seen none of it. There's many a day when I'm tempted to pack up my car and just start driving...all in due time.

Mike ODonnell
08-22-2007, 09:07 AM
found this website for those adventurous see the world types....pretty cool idea....

www.couchsurfing.com

Scott Kustes
08-22-2007, 09:40 AM
I think most people would greatly benefit from seeing their own country, let alone another one. I've backpacked a great deal of Australia, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia and now that I'm back here in Canada I realize I've seen none of it. There's many a day when I'm tempted to pack up my car and just start driving...all in due time.
Trans Canada Trail (http://www.canadatrails.ca/tct/)
The 8 US National Scenic Trails (http://www.fs.fed.us/pct/imageviewer.php?img=GRAPHIC-national-trail-system-SMALL.gif)

David Aguasca
08-22-2007, 02:57 PM
found this website for those adventurous see the world types....pretty cool idea....

www.couchsurfing.com

couchsurfing.com is pretty awesome. i've never used it, but several of my friends have. of course, it's one of those "try at your own risk" services...


as per the dutch guy: i feel like the reason he got such a positive response from the public is two-fold. i'm no cynic, but i try to be realistic about these things. first off, he's a clean-cut, dapper looking guy. blond, blue-eyed. secondly, he's a foreigner. for the most part, people like to help foreigners (as long as a good first impression is made).

if he had been a different ethnicity, or had a beard, would he have had the same fortune?

Scott Kustes
08-23-2007, 05:54 AM
David, you aren't accusing the average American of being xenophobic are you? No way we can help out someone with non-white skin. They might be a terrorist...our government tells us daily that little brown men want to blow us up. </sarcasm>