I think it was the Publix our first day back where we first noticed it. Shelves, coolers, racks, stands, cases, piles, cartons of products. The sheer number of choices was disorienting, and we found ourselves carefully considering each option one-by-one. It would have taken hours to do a basic shopping trip. Because in the Bahamas there is one choice, if you are lucky and the supply boat has recently come. How do we Americans do this? The sheer quantity of quality is astounding when put in perspective of the rest of the world.
But now we are on the road, going to the wedding of a friends' son, seeing our doctors, seeing our family. Immersed in America at the ground level. Hotels, brands, restaurants, brands, airports, brands, cars, brands, SUVs!, brands, people, people, people. And more people. It feels like we are adrift between two worlds: our new one of self-reliance, simple living, and the physical truth of the ocean, and our past one of 2010's America.
Our response is not unique. I recommend the blog of Kintala, especially Tim's entry on being far from their new home:
..The Cruising community is not much like America. These are people with different motivations, different ideas of what it means to be responsible, with a close and personal relationship with the natural world. They are from Canada and Europe and are not nearly as impressed with Americans as Americans tend to be with themselves. Most know well their turn will come to need a little help, and so they offer the same with little hesitation. ..
We have two weeks of road trip ahead of us before we can go home...