27 June 2018, The Tablet

Welcome to the New World: an English liberal traveller's encounters with Republican America


Spiritual journey

Welcome to the New World: an English liberal traveller's encounters with Republican America

Liz crosses San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge
Photo:

 

“God told me to give you this,” the gentle, old American cowgirl said, handing me an oversized china mug emblazoned with chintzy American eagles and the unattributed quote, “I close my eyes and open wide the windows of my mind.”

I wanted to ask her: are you absolutely sure? I already had a top-of-the-range collapsible silicone coffee cup – God didn’t perhaps suggest an energy drink or a Snickers bar? Something more suited to the lifestyle of a round-the-world cyclist who sleeps in hedges and drops the bicycle loaded with all her earthly possessions on the ground twice a day? But so as not to cause offence I said, thanks, I’m sure that’ll come in handy, and stuffed the patriotic mug into one of my bicycle bags.

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