Delvo, on Jul 9 2005, 03:50 PM, said:
The vacation time situation is somewhat exaggerated in this thread; most professional jobs start with 2 weeks and are up to 3 or 4 weeks within a few years and still get higher after that.
Depends where you are. I'm in a professional job - I work in a legal office. Two weeks until I've been there 10 years.... 7 days of sick leave that never becomes more. Of course I'm in Tennessee, a very employER, as opposed to employEE, friendly state. Things were definitely better in that respect in California. On the other hand, I was with a company here that had 3 weeks after 3 years. Unfortunately they went under before I could take advantage. I don't think those facts are related... And my current company also doesn't pay as much as other legal offices (and is generally cheap), but all legal offices here pay more than jobs here I'd rather be doing... I new of some folk who went to 4 weeks after maybe 20 years and a 5th week every so many years after maybe 30 years. Not that many people work for the same company 20-30 years any more. If you move companies, you're back to one or two weeks...
There's also the medical situation here, which should affect anyone's perception of our financial status. Without good employer-paid health insurance, too many Americans have none. If you're dirt poor, there's some welfare involved. If you're middle class, you're on your own. As I mentioned somewhere, a large proportion of bankruptcies are because of medical bills. Paying for health care for the kids takes priority over travel.
I don't think young American kids in Europe are usually rich. A lot of them do the Eurail/backpack/hostel thing and manage it quite cheaply other than the air fare, which can be fairly reasonable bought way in advance and might be a big graduation present. I'm way past the age where I'd backpack and carry too much luggage/camera equipment for trains, though I could attempt that.
But indeed, trains are a viable option in Europe and aren't in most places in the US. The east coast has decent inter-city rail in and out of NYC, DC, Philly, maybe Boston. I think you can get north and south from LA by rail. They're the exceptions. Nashville only has freight trains. Inter-city bus? Yeah, possible. Younger folk tolerate it better than others. It doesn't always, shall we say, attract the best element? I investigated that to go from Nashville to Atlanta but the schedules were useless for my purpose, so I drove.
My own tolerance for driving is about 4 1/2 hrs...especially on an interstate/freeway with no stopping or interesting things to see beside the road.
From my own experience, the disliked American tourist is the one who is pushy and arrogant and is upset because things aren't like they are in the all-wonderful US, making one wonder why they bothered to leave US shores... Nothing to do with financial status.
I'd argue with Hiblette on the transportation system in LA, but things have improved a bit since I lived there! Atlanta and San Francisco apparently aren't bad.
And some of us who are far from rich but do travel just have great credit and the ability to make decent payments on the plastic!
I'll add that perceptions gained from most of our tv shows also make people think most of us live in cities with great homes or apartments. Hah! The apartments shown in tv shows could not be afforded by the types of people who are supposed to be living in them. And there's the vast wasteland in between LA/San Francisco and the Chicago-east coast cities which is rarely portrayed on mainstream tv.