A travelers perspective – I am proud to be Canadian these days


As a travel to Chicago from my hometown of Calgary Canada, I sit in a lonely chair in a deserted part of the Chicago O’Hare International airport. It’s bizarre to see such a deserted image because the last few times I travelled here weren’t like this at all. The last time I visited this airport there was barely any breathing room between the hoards of travelers. There wasn’t a square inch of the airport that wasn’t occupied before, but not today.

I am eagerly seated, anticipating my training for my new job that took two entire months and six interviews to achieve. Something that over seven hundred applicants applied for. Most people were grateful to have a job these days. I was definitely one of them.

Even though the negativity that ran through my veins previous to this moment due to the loss of my business from the poor economy and unfortunate business politics a few years previous, my new job was exactly what I was looking for. It was something that paid well, and more importantly, I was working for people who truly respected me and my talents.

I sat there with a smile on my face. I felt proud to be inside the largest, most proud country of all; the United States. All throughout my life I had heard stories about United States politics and how they had revolutionized so many positive things that led their people to equality and freedom. In fact, most of our Canadian education system is based around culture within the United States. To be honest; I learned more about the United States in my 12 years of education than I did about my own Canadian background. I kind of felt like a citizen as I sat amongst the few people that shrugishly stumbled upon their seats beside me.

But, I kept wondering why there were so few people in the largest airport in the world. The one I remember being filled with hustle-and-bustle. It baffled my mind why it was so empty. I then pondered all the possibilities that would’ve led me to the answers as to why.

I thought maybe the recent hurricane that swept through Texas, and now another one through Florida and the keys, and a third one outside of Mexico, I thought that could’ve been the reason why the airport was slow. But, then again, that’s the time you would think people would need airport; to flee from all the chaos. It just didn’t seem to add up.

There was a flight attendant that had walked past me a few times. It seemed as though she was lost looking for the proper gate or something. As she passed me for the fourth or fifth time I politely shouted to her, “excuse me?” I kind of startled her. She looked at me as though I caught her off guard, like a deer caught in the headlights. She shook her head from the daze and attended to me immediately.

I slowly and somewhat consciously asked her, “I don’t mean to bother you. I can see that you’re looking for something?” She responded, “Oh yeah, I’m just looking for a coworker of mine. It’s nothing.” I then asked, “Is it common for this portion of the airport to be so dead? I remember last time I was here it was packed with people.” She responded as though it was common knowledge, “Oh yeah, people don’t travel anymore. Ever since Trump got elected into parliament people have a fear of all the hate crimes. I think people choose safer methods of travel these days.”

I sat there and pondered for a brief moment.

She stood there smiling wondering if I had any other questions. I then said, “Oh thank you very much. I’m Canadian. I’m a little out of the loop.”

She instantly changed her entire demeanor and responded with enthusiasm, “Oh, we love Canadians. I am from Australia. In fact, most of my coworkers are from overseas; Europe, Asia, Russia, all over the world. I’ve never heard more positive thing said about your Country than any other. You guys are such a proud country.” I was inspired by her ambitious attitude.

Shortly after she continued with a completely different more negative demeanor, “Yeah, I don’t know what came of this Country (referring to the United States).”

She stood there pondering her own thoughts about the situation. She then smiled and nodded her head and said, “have a nice day. I’ve got a run.”

As I sat there, I delved further into my questioning about why there were so few people in the airport. At first, I couldn’t fathom the truth that people were scared; that they feared their lives from a few hate crimes presented in the media recently, but then I reminisced all the negativity that has been projected in the media on a global scale.

It started to make sense. It all reminded me of how destructive humanity has become. From the hate crimes against Muslims, the Jews and the issues in Charlottesville, and everything in between. It was disappointing to see how bad things have gotten in the United States recently. All of it reflected back to one person; Donald Trump.

My thoughts about the situation continued with recent flashbacks of the Trump election and the destruction he has caused as a leader of the nation within his short time as president. I don’t need to get in depth into the nitty-gritty of it all. We’ve all seen the devastation he has brought to the Country. Just the very thought of North Korea and what Trump has done to provoke the situation is enough to say how ridiculous it’s gotten.

As I sat and further pondered the situation a few people sat near me. Then a few others came along, and slowly a small portion of the airport was filling up.

I reflected on how I had been unemployed for nearly 6 months. The Calgary economy went to the shi**er over the past couple years and there weren’t very many opportunities out there that were remotely appealing or would even come close to paying me enough to cover the necessities.

I have two small children (three and one). My 18 year career as a motivational speaker led me to speak to high school and elementary students across North America. After the recent economy crash that took tens of thousands of jobs including my own, from mostly white collared individuals who had education beyond the wazoo; those who were properly trained in the field of oil and gas. These people were all let go.

I too felt the wrath that swept mainly the western portion of Canada. I was at the top of my field. I had motivated well over 1 million students in the past two decades. I wrote 11 books on motivation, five of which reached number one in their respective category on Amazon. I was always trying to persuade people to move on from what’s been holding them back in life, and how to increase their confidence and set goals. But, it al fell into the shi**er because the first thing they (politicians) cut in their budgets when they make a mistake are extracurricular activities.

The abuse from bullying that I had seen and experienced in my life was the main focal point within my presentations. For years I had an intense passion of inspiring other people. Helping them understand their passions, set their goals and live in the moment. My message went further than just the effects and symptoms of bullying. I delved deep into the hearts of these individuals; elementary students from grades five to young adults well beyond grade high school. I even spoken in a correctional facility in Texas a few years back. I spoke to severely troubled youth who have committed felonies well beyond murder and theft. As I reached into the hearts of these people over the years it built my ambition towards the happy filled confidence that once existed.

The flight attendant was right; things have changed for the worse ever since Trump has been elected into office, and literally everyone I talked to brought attention to it. Even my coworkers raised their concerns about recent political debates. Besides, we Canadians know more about American politics than we do our own.

This level of thinking started tainting my once positive mindset. The ambition that resided no more than 30 minutes ago washed away with deceitful thoughts of World War III. It all started weighing heavily on my mind in a negative way.

Ironically enough, as I sat there I glanced over to my left and saw two fully suited American soldiers. The label that patched their arm read US Army. It brought me back to all the instances in my past where I was told how courageous these individuals were. I was told to give them my seat if they were in my surroundings. But I never really was told or understood why. It wasn’t until now that I fully knew how courageous they are; fighting for Trumps ridiculous initiatives.

As I got to my hotel that evening; the Marriott in Naperville, as I entered the lobby, it too was empty. There wasn’t a soul in sight. The feeling that ran through my veins was the very same way I felt in the deserted airport less than forty minutes ago.

I was used to getting a warm welcome from their staff in my previous visits to their hotel chain. I stood in my tracks for roughly five minutes without a single interaction with another person. Finally, a housemaid came by. She glanced at me briefly, then gave me the double-take. She said, “I’m sorry, I’m not used to seeing much action in the lobby lately.” I responded, “This place is usually pretty busy. Not much happening in the Chicago area lately?” She immediately responded with conviction, “Oh, people don’t spend any money anymore. Ever since Trump came around, approving all these bullsh** trade policies people don’t spend a dime. Less spending means less visiting. This all equals less need for hotels. Thus, we’ve downsized quite a bit lately. Very little staff here.”

She continued, “I do most of the responsibilities here. We let most of our office staff go because its been dead. Like a ghost town.”

Her deep Southern accent proved she wasn’t from around the area. She didn’t seem to have much ambition regardless of the fact that she was the one who made the cut and still has a job. In Canada, people don’t take their job for granted nearly as much. Everyone seemed so miserable in the Chicago area. I wondered if this is the way every American was.

Her monotone voice matched her monotone actions. She was surely in no hurry to get anything done that evening. I wanted to see if I would get the same reaction I did with the flight attendant earlier; telling her I’m Canadian.

I said, “I’m Canadian!” She responded instantly with a much cheerful demeanor saying, “Oh, really! We love our Canadian friends.” She then picked up her pace.

She rang me through the computer, gave me my room key and some literature on common eateries in the area. She even went out of her way to tell me about every other fun thing to do in the area. There was a skydiving place right down the block.

I went to my room, and for some reason I was agitated. Instantly l opened the door, walked down the hallway, exited the building, went outside and sparked up a cigarette. I never even considered smoking until my career was spared from the economy crash two years ago. Lately cigarette smoke was my saving grace. It relieves the tension in my nerves.

This all reminded me of my memories of when I was unemployed (recently) knowing I couldn’t afford to provide even the necessities for my family. Completely the opposite way I felt during my long-lasting career as a motivator. I always had conviction and confidence in my career. It allowed me to live a financially stable life for the most part. It served an immense amount of passion. Today was the first time I felt the very same way since my company went under.

I didn’t want the negativity to affect my ambition towards this business trip. At that moment more positive feelings surfaced. Images that surrounded my new opportunity; the one that I was in Chicago training for filled my head. I was back on the playing field of happiness. This job was surely the icing to the cake in my life.

As I turned the television set on in my hotel room I scrolled the channels. And it was literally plastered with media announcements of the turmoil surrounding North Korea and United States politics. The face of it all; Donald Trump. The billionaire from New York. All throughout the news feed were various stories, arguments and discussions about all of the various issues the country was dealing with, most of which stemmed from hate crimes, racism and inequality. In the root of it all Trump’s name underlined it all.

After about a half hour of mind control from the media on the screen I wandered back into the hallways and back outside to grab some fresh air. I lit my second cigarette of the evening.

Anxiety flowed through my veins. I started to get uneasy feelings in my footsteps. I continued to ponder all the negativity that surfaced my mind since my arrival. I knew I needed to curb my negative thoughts so I could enjoy my visit. So I tuned my focus on more personal annotations.

Thoughts of my family back at home; me sitting in my most comfortable place; my household resonated. I was grateful knowing that I had two happy children and a beautiful wife waiting for me to come home.

Who would’ve known that four hours of travel would’ve change my perspective about America this much?

I sparked another cigarette. Yes a third one. I remained standing on the stoop of my hotel entrance. Each puff of cigarette smoke seemed to escalate my aggressive attitude towards American society.

I started paying attention to everyone around me from that moment. Everyone who I came across on the streets, in the restaurants I ate at, even those in my office building. I seemed to experience the very same reaction; people are generally miserable and scared individuals in public.

As I continued pondering I realized that I looked at them (Americans) as a whole, as though they were all a part of the problem, when in actuality it was really only one individual who was to blame; the ultimate business mogul and king of television ratings Mr. Trump.

At that moment, I became even more agitated. It triggered the affectionate side of me. Even though these people weren’t directly a part of my Countries Canadian blood, they are surely neighbors which means we are family. At least that’s the way I saw it before I traveled to Chicago.

Later that evening I found myself plastered to the television set. I paid quite a bit of attention to the media the entire evening. Each channel dramatized various catastrophic instances which needed tending to. It was evident the troubles with North Korea was just the beginning. Trump had already decided (through twitter posts) that we was scrapping NAFTA, CADA, Obamacare and a variety of other community initiatives that once acted as a peace builder; things that brought the Country together; initiatives that served as the backbone to their pride. 

Trump’s late decisions are clearly self-centered, selfish and every other narcissistic term I could possibly use to describe my theory. Each of his initiatives affect the Global industry; trade, investments, and more importantly hundreds of thousands of individuals; people of their own Nation, people from my own Nation in a negative way. I hadn’t actually felt this disconnected from my neighboring state; the US of A my entire life.

All throughout my four day stay I kept coming across situations that reminded me of the turmoil in the United States. I heard my coworkers in my training class repeatedly saying how they didn’t understand the politics in the US anymore. I heard gas station attendants and hotel clerks saying the exact same. In fact, it seemed like everyone was so intertwined into the media scare lately that it scared them straight in every way. I started to understand Mr Trump’s initiatives in a more profound yet fu**ed up way.

I barely ever have followed highlights of political debates because it always was so boring, but it sure isn’t now that Trump is at the helm. His ruggish tv glamour sure added to his devious persona.

I thought I had seen enough negativity from Trump’s twitter scare tactics back in Canada. Now that I was on American soil I was opened up to it in a whole new variety of ideals. CNN reminded me of a real life episode of The Dictator.

All of the stories featured related in some way to Trump and his wonky reasoning’s. Most were stories of people picketing against his motives. Some dominated with messaging for more freedom whereas others vied for an opportunity to stay living in the only community they’ve ever known.

I personally see a man (Trump); someone with such ugly morals, values and beliefs, uglier than his own hairpiece. I continue to shake my head in shame, annoyed with the whole situation.

Throughout the week various situations led to me understand the kind of order Trump was instilling upon his people. I started to gain a clear perspective of his scare tactics. But I saw that it was only bringing out the bad in everyone. Everyone was miserable.

As I arrived back at the Chicago O’Hare international Airport later that week I sat down in yet another empty area. It was like déjà vu. I was reminded of the exact same situation four days ago.

As I sat there agitated, more than annoyed about how low this Country’s morals have stooped over the last 10 months. I was thoroughly disappointed.

I took a deep breath. I remind myself of my family; my two children who I love to pieces. My beautiful wife who I am so grateful for, my supportive family and friends, and frankly everything in my surroundings. This resonated my pride of being another happy and proud Canadian.

I’ve never been more proud for my Country than I am today. It wasn’t until I fled from home that I understood how good we have it in our Country.

Although our neighboring state may be ran by a lunatic, someone who plays against his own people while creating his own rules; someone so ruthless, someone who believes the exact opposite of his predecessors; the ones who once made their nation great. All of this makes me appreciate my Country in an entirely different way.

I never used to understood why American citizens were such proud people. I never understood why USA was labelled as the happiest nation. I never realized how great they were until I revisited them again. It’s sad to see that these last 10 months have lived literally drained everything inside of them.

This business trip was exactly what I needed because even I had been taking for granted all of the gratefulness of being a Canadian. My reflections on what I’ve gathered from the turmoil in the United States over the last four days, I can’t say enough how much it’s helped me gain a clearer perspective of how proud I am to be Canadian.

On a side note, from an outside perspective, shouldn’t it be the doctors, teachers, firemen, and those who assist other people in positive terms; shouldn’t they be the ones who are given your seat? In my eyes, They’re the ones who assist our healthcare, they’re ones who educate us to be better people, they are clearly the ones who deserve the utmost respect. It just seems to be the exact opposite of what Trump is trying to accomplish.

As I write this I realize the hatred and anger I felt while visiting the United States is probably what the majority of all US citizens are going through.

Although I lost my career as a motivator to the poor Canadian economy, I am still grateful for so many things that surround my every day footsteps. Regardless of how much our dollar is worth I feel like we are the better nation these days. In addition to that, there’s one thing that can never be taken away from me; my dignity, my vision to make this world a happier place.

Although I don’t get paid anymore to relay and important message to teenagers about living positive lifestyle choices, that doesn’t mean that I can’t pass along an important message to you today.

There are so many things we can all be grateful for; things we often overlook and take for granted. Things like space to move around, a place to believe in ourselves, and opportunities. Even if your people are threatened by the host of a reality show, there’s something he can never take away from you; your dignity and the desire to make your Country a better place.

Even though our education has been interlaced with the fake reality of the human race, we can always be satisfied with the very fact that each of us are equal and neither of us want to even think about World War III. We all want to be happy and neither of us wish for pain. We may sometimes get tainted by our friendship with our neighbours but that doesn’t mean we need to succumb to their negative ways. That’s why I am sharing this message with you today; so you can pass it along on your way to salvation.

I am proud to be Canadian.

I welcome you to visit me at www.kerrygirling.com for further inspiration.

Kerry Girling

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