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an invitation to travel the States

As a little girl I learnt about places around the world in Geography classes. Never did I imagine I'd be visiting different states in the USA or be living here later in my life... And truly enjoy it too. I remember learning of the Great Lakes and now I can swim in Lake Michigan. I learned about Ford's automated production lines and now I can ride in a Ford Model T.

I believe my desire for traveling began in my childhood when I was going to chess tournaments around Poland. Starting in my small village I first traveled by foot, then took busses and trains, then driving with cars, occasionally on boats and finally with planes.

New York

When I landed for the first time in the USA, right after getting out of the plane the air smelled different, more intense, richer or just more humid as I was told later on. The city, even though scary, felt very exciting. Never before had I climbed such high buildings like the Empire State Building and waited in such a long line to purchase a ticket. Never before had I seen such beautifully maintained gardens like in Central Park or so many people as in Times Square. And the Ocean was overwhelming too.

After I came back to Poland I was asked if the America that I visited is the same as the one we see on TV in soap operas like Dynasty. No, not really. Not everyone has a big fancy house with a pool, new cars and boats, house keepers and gardeners or goes on cruises. Normal people take subways and work hard, see dirty streets and eat hot-dogs from a food stand. After coming back to NYC 10 years later I didn't like it anymore. Too much of everything or everyone...


So now I'm happy in Michigan where there's more land than people and everyone is praising "up north" beauty.

I can hike sand dunes, ride a bike along a lakeshore or run races on Detroit streets. It was here that I learned to like kayaking and tried golfing.

One of the nicest Michigan tourist attraction is Mackinac Island. What makes it very special is that there's no motor vehicles allowed so it feels somewhat out of time. The type of transportation you see on the streets besides bikes are horses. There are stables with buggies and horse equipment everywhere.

Another place that I like to come back to in Michigan is the Ford Museum and Greenfield Village with great exhibitions of real cars, trains, airplanes and... houses. In Green Field Village they brought houses from all over the country so you can see the life from decades/centuries ago. For example, a fabric/merchandise store, farming life with real animals and food being cooked as you do sightseeing, rotate huge trains at a train roundhouse. You can either walk from a house to house or take a ride by historical bus, train or car like the Model T, all from Henry Ford's frame of time. You can also watch them blow glass in a shop or print a card in a old printing press. A wonderful way of learning.


I was once under the impression that Americans don't travel much around the world. Someone corrected me saying there are all types of landscape in the USA so why would you go aboard?

I went to ski in Utah even though I'm not a skier at all. It scared me to go but maybe that's my way to deal with fear because once I went, I did enjoy the excitement of going down hill.

Afterwards you relax by a fire with some live music... well, that's what I did. Salt Lake city has a cute down town, where I was trying some new foods. The very interesting thing I saw in the the City Creek mall was a stream running through it. The water is actually from the mountains. This became an inspiration for the stream I wanted on our property.

They say traveling is a good teacher. Poland is religiously very homogeneous so I wasn't exposed to other Christian denominations or religions. Salt Lake City is known for the Church of Later Day Saints. Their version of the church is different than what I know.


I was curious about Las Vegas, as they say it's impossible to explain it. Yes, Las Vegas hotels are probably the prettiest I have seen and walking on the strip it's quite an experience. Every hotel is themed differently and they have atmospheres for every taste. But since I don't gamble it's not that entertaining to me.

So on Sunday, I ran away from those city crowds, lights and music for mass at Our Lady of Las Vegas Catholic Church. I also saw the Hover Dam during this trip which is located on the boarder between Nevada and Arizona. It is a massive structure.


One of the world's greatest wonders desired to be visited by Europeans is The Grand Canyon. Marvelous views indeed. The Glass Sky Walk provides an incredible yet scary experience. You simultaneously feel both very tiny and very significant. You appreciate things more once you see the grandness of the scenery. I can't say I hiked there so I definitely plan to go back.

Other Places

I prefer warm over cold so I happily visited Miami, Florida which is a city I remembered from movies I watched. New Orleans, Louisiana's architecture reminded me about European buildings. And Virginia Beach, Virginia had sand and sun, which is my favorite.

There's still so much I want to go, see and experience. They say it's healthy for you to make plans and dream. Having something to look forward to keeps you optimistic.

Thank you God for all the beautiful nature you created for us to enjoy!

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Janet Ralstin
Janet Ralstin
May 26, 2021

Enjoyed your insight into traveling your new “backyard”. Hope Florida will be a return trip!


Anna Rusinowski
Anna Rusinowski
May 11, 2021

Love the pictures and you sharing your story!!

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