There is a palpable change when one crosses the Mississippi River heading west. The most noticeable of these changes is the relatively sudden decrease in population and urban sprawl. Spaces become more vast; people and cars become infrequent. A sense of adventure is born.  

It is not easy to define a sense of "place". It is something I have been trying to define on a personal level for the past decade. Today I am no closer to an answer. What has become more evident in the past years is that I have felt a sense of belonging - a sense of peace - when confronted with the sheer and awesome open spaces of the United States. With each visit, it gets harder to leave.

While hard to quantify and even more laborious to explain, there is a disconnect in the cities of the Northeast, both large and small. These fortresses of capitalism stand today - some more auspicious than others - as masked detractors of the human spirit's natural urge to explore open spaces. After all, as a species, human beings are innate explorers.

It's still the Wild West. 

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