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How do Americans go touring?

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How do Americans go touring?

Old 07-14-10, 01:30 PM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by joe_5700 View Post
Really? I have been hearing that most European countries are in far worse shape economically than we are and we are in a recession. How is Greece doing? How about Spain?
Right, and how are Michigan, Rhode Island or Nevada? (anyone can cherry pick stats)

Average gross domestic product (GDP) in the US is about 40 per cent higher than average GDP of the EU-15 when measured at purchasing power parity (PPP). The gap is slightly greater if we consider either the twelve Eurozone members (EU-12) or add the accession states (EU-25). Although GDP is a poor indicator of measure of welfare or happiness, let’s agree to use it for the sake of comparison.

The main reason the US is richer is because, first, a higher proportion of Americans are in employment and, secondly, they work about 20 per cent more hours per year than Europeans. When we look at GDP in 2005 per person per hour worked, there is virtually no difference between Germany, France and the US.
Economists often speak of this as revealing different American and European social preferences for work and leisure. In truth, both the employment rate and how long the average person works are explained mainly by political history. Until the late 1970s total hours worked were falling both in Europe and in the USA; since then, total hours worked have continued to fall in the EU-15 but have risen again in the US. Equally, if we look at employment data by age group, Americans join the work force earlier and leave it far later than Europeans. The key to understanding why this has happened is the change in US income distribution over the past 30 years. Since 1979, the bottom 40 per cent of income earners in the US has been treading water while the bottom 20 per cent has become poorer. US workers have needed to put in more years and longer hours simply to maintain their real income position.
...
Comparing the economic performance of the European Union and the USA does not lead one to conclude that America has the more dynamic economy, or that it has performed better in the past or will do so in future. The most crucial feature of the comparison’ is neither the growth nor the unemployment record of the US and the EU. It is, rather, that US growth, unlike that in the EU, is funded by a dangerously high mountain of foreign debt. US external indebtedness in turn is driven by the US house price bubble, enabling US consumers to spend more than they earn. Ironically, it is the EU which, together with China and Japan, continues to lend the money to the US which keeps their households spending and their economy growing.
From: http://www.federalunion.org.uk/europ...sAmerica.shtml
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Old 07-14-10, 01:41 PM
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Which brings us right back to exactly what I said before. Many of us simply take unpaid time off or find a job with better benefits...or buy vacation time. As a bit if trivia, I guess if we all did that then our GDP would be just like Europe's. Y'all get your panties in a bunch because I say it, and then you turn around and exactly make my point for me.
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Old 07-14-10, 01:51 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by foamy View Post
What a tool you are. Time for you to leave for Europe—what's stopping ya?
Geez, I dunno, maybe friends, family, a home, a love for my country, and the deeply-held belief that I have the freedom to disagree with current policies without fear of being asked to leave? What was that first amendment again??

I guess you're one of those "freedom-lovers" that only loves our freedom when everyone agrees with you? Otherwise you tell us to "love it or leave it" Thanks, but Id rather work to improve the country. See I have the ability to look at the evidence and learn from others' experience and actions... nice try though.
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Old 07-14-10, 01:54 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by John Coloccia View Post
Which brings us right back to exactly what I said before. Many of us simply take unpaid time off or find a job with better benefits...or buy vacation time. As a bit if trivia, I guess if we all did that then our GDP would be just like Europe's. Y'all get your panties in a bunch because I say it, and then you turn around and exactly make my point for me.
I guess the difference is that in Europe one does not have to worry about getting sick and becoming bankrupt from healthcare costs, paying for their children's education, or being seen as a "slacker" for wanting vacation time with the family, leading to a loss of their job. Once again, it is great that you have a situation that you can choose to take time off from in the form of a sabbattical, but that is not our system (generally), and is not the norm...

PS, I was not the one who called you a tea-partier... I basically agree with what you said, however, I would say the system in the USA is a stacked deck against those who value time-riches over money-riches. That and our lack of securities (health, social, educational etc) make it tough to work less for less money- since it often precludes the worker from benefits as well as just salary...
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Old 07-14-10, 02:05 PM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by John Coloccia View Post
Which brings us right back to exactly what I said before. Many of us simply take unpaid time off or find a job with better benefits...or buy vacation time. As a bit if trivia, I guess if we all did that then our GDP would be just like Europe's. Y'all get your panties in a bunch because I say it, and then you turn around and exactly make my point for me.
John, maybe it's hard to wrap your mind around it, but the fact that you can take unpaid time off, believe you can find a better job, or capitalize a small business in this economy means that you are living a different life than most Americans.

Whether you got there by cleverness, hard work, dumb luck, the contents of your invisible backpack, or your daddy's money, you are in a different reality. If you think everyone else is just a little gumption away from enjoying the same privileges you do -- just a little creative thinking and perspiration away from a secure job, a respectful boss, and as much time off as you wish to negotiate -- then you're living in a cartoon.

The United States has a labor market that guarantees most Americans will work more hours at less secure jobs with less time off than most Europeans. That's just reality, and that's why people like Foamy upthread are reduced to "you're a tool, go live in Europe, you Europe-lover" -- there's really not much else for them to say.

You're in better shape than that, and I honor you for that. But "just take more time off, like me" is about as insightful as "let them eat cake."
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Old 07-14-10, 02:16 PM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by John Coloccia View Post
Which brings us right back to exactly what I said before. Many of us simply take unpaid time off or find a job with better benefits...or buy vacation time. As a bit if trivia, I guess if we all did that then our GDP would be just like Europe's. Y'all get your panties in a bunch because I say it, and then you turn around and exactly make my point for me.
I don't believe that "Many of us simply take unpaid time off or find a job with better benefits...or buy vacation time." A small number of people, including myself, do that. But I honestly can't think of a single other co-worker of mine at any place I've ever worked who has taken unpaid leave or left specifically for a new job with better benefits (and in this economic environment, forget about that). And I've never worked anywhere where I had the option of buying vacation time, although I know that does exist at some companies. What I have observed is that it's far more common for my co-workers to lose their vacation time by not using it. Over the years, several co-workers have expressed amazement that I would want to, or even be able to take leave without pay. FWIW, I've usually worked at places where I got 3 or even 4 weeks of paid vacation, in addition to holidays. These days, that time off tends to include any sick days taken, so people who value vacation time (and fools who think their workplace won't function without them) come in sick to preserve their vacation time.
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Old 07-14-10, 02:16 PM
  #57  
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I never said the American way is ideal for touring. The OP asked a straightforward question: how do you guts do it? I gave a straightforward answer. You guys are the ones taking in a completely bizarre direction. Personally I'd prefer to just simply make less and have two months off every year. Actually, I'd like to make the sane amount abd have two months off. If I could move to Europe and get that, plus pay the same taxes I pay here, plus have the same opportunities for jobs and land ownership, well I probably would! Not a shot or criticism at anyone or any country. The benefits simply don't outweigh the disadvantages when I overlay them with my personal goals.
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Old 07-14-10, 02:19 PM
  #58  
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My wife has a disability which prevents her from holding down a full-time job. Approximately 40% of my take home pay goes on her health care. I lost my job after 9/11 and over half my severance pay went on the insurance premiums (the care was on top of that), before I thankfully, found another job 4 months later. We had one more mortgage payment in the savings account, after that we would have been broke. She was hospitalized for two weeks earlier this year and even with our good insurance plan, it will take approximately 4 years for me to pay off the bill. I live in fear of losing my current job and the insurance benefits that go with it. The idea of me starting my own business is a joke and at my age, getting rehired will be a virtual impossibility.

I love lots of things about America and have no intention of leaving it thank you very much. But it saddens me how many people are so willing to let Corporate America keep it's foot on the back of their heads. Unions, national healthcare, shorter working hours, ooooh nooooo that's socialism and we don't want that. Let's work to make the few at the top even wealthier and maybe they'll drop a few crumbs our way if we tug our forelocks. That's freedom! Thank you sir, may I have another.
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Old 07-14-10, 02:22 PM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by John Coloccia View Post
Personally I'd prefer to just simply make less and have two months off every year.
I think people are taking issue with they way you seem to think everyone has that choice. Few do.
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Old 07-14-10, 02:23 PM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by positron View Post
Geez, I dunno, maybe friends, family, a home, a love for my country,didn't sound like that in your first post and the deeply-held belief that I have the freedom to disagree with current policies without fear of being asked to leave? What was that first amendment again??

I guess you're one of those "freedom-lovers" that only loves our freedom when everyone agrees with you? Otherwise you tell us to "love it or leave it" Thanks, but Id rather work to improve the country. See I have the ability to look at the evidence and learn from others' experience and actions... nice try though.
You can guess about my beliefs and political leanings all you want. Your diatribe says you don't like things here and that they're better in Europe. The U.S. is full of idiots. Remember? That and don't put words in my mouth. What your ability to "look at the evidence and learn from others' experience and actions" didn't or doesn't come out in your in your initial post. At all. It was all bile and vitriol.

"I guess you're one of those "freedom-lovers" that only loves our freedom when everyone agrees with you? Otherwise you tell us to "love it or leave it"

You guess wrong. How exactly do you come to that assumption? I'm amazed. It doesn't even make sense.

What prompted my post was your absolute vilification of life and citizens here. I've found just the opposite to be true.

"... nice try though"

Oh, and what exactly was it that I was trying?

Glad you'd rather work to improve our country. I think we all would.

Last edited by foamy; 07-14-10 at 02:37 PM.
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Old 07-14-10, 02:41 PM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by foamy View Post
Glad you'd rather work to improve our country. I think we all would.
How are you planning on doing that? Let's start by getting rid of corporate lobbyists away from our politicians. How exactly do we go about that?

Yes, things are bad in USA but people live in complete denial, media-induced hypnosis and scared of communist takeover, barely making their ends meet and all that keeps most people away from real issues while less than 5% of the population pocket millions of dollars annually. Have you been to a ER in a city hospital recently or a public school? Most Americans are poor, undereducated and without proper health care and nothing can be done about that without being accused of communism.
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Old 07-14-10, 02:48 PM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by John Coloccia View Post
If you stop being angry for a second
???
I wasn't angry. I was merely pointing out the assumptions and financial capabilities you've made of a huge sector of the us population.

How much less money can people do without when they live paycheck to paycheck or work multiple jobs just to get by?

Again, you have to recognize that voluntarily reducing the amount of income and voluntarily spending less money on personal junk is a major privilege.

The real answer to the OP's question is in the U.S. it is difficult for most cycling tourists to do the extensive cross-nation touring that you can do in Europe. The sheer size of the country prevents this. France is maybe about the size of Texas. That is pretty large but France's road systems are much more conducive to bicycle touring than most US road systems. Transportation and city structure in the US is geared toward the automobile and a cross-cross country route for bicycles must be planned much better.
So, immediately you are constrained in the amount of distance you could put on your bicycle during a holiday period. You'd need at least 3 months to accomplish a cross-country trip.
If I biked from the northern most border of my state to the southern most border it would be the equivalent of biking the entire nation of Germany north to south. I could probably find a more direct route north to south in Germany than I could in my state.
America just doesn't have the same history and culture of bicycle touring that many European nations do.

The type of person who usually has that much time is
A) a student (the same type that goes off to Europe before going to college)
B) an "empty-nester" (someone who has just seen their kids off the college or married)
C) a retiree

The real answer is the number of people who choose to tour 100% by bicycle on their holiday is a minuscule fraction compared to the number of people who load up their bikes into or onto their cars, trucks, and RVs and go somewhere in the short period of time they have available. They then get to their destination and bicycle around.

Americans generally cram a lot into their vacation times. It's not uncommon to hear people come back from vacations and say that they now need to recover from the vacation (because they are tired).

Last edited by Casrider; 07-14-10 at 03:27 PM.
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Old 07-14-10, 02:53 PM
  #63  
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Ok, so I'm obviously part of some special class of lucky folks. Fine, my apologies. What's the normal, non-teacup or WHATEVER way of taking time off that is socially acceptable here? Keep in mind that some of us can only carry over a week's worth if vacation, so saving it up doesn't work.

And FWIW, I'm truly sorry that some of you have to bear hardships and I wish you the best.
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Old 07-14-10, 03:02 PM
  #64  
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Dude . . .

The socially acceptable way for most Americans to take time off is they can't. It does not present as a choice.

I think you're almost at the point of grasping this.

Try just a little harder and you'll get there.
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Old 07-14-10, 03:13 PM
  #65  
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To answer the OP.
Unless you are a student, teacher or retired, you probably aren't doing much touring. Long periods of time off are hard to come by in the states. Plenty of reasons, both good and bad, in this thread. Safe to say that the average citizen carries too much debt and is more interested in "things" rather than "time". If "We the People" really wanted more vacation we could get it, but it would require getting of our collective asses and doing something about it. In the land of "united we stand" we fall divided. I'll blame the media since that's the only dead horse yet to be whipped
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Old 07-14-10, 03:21 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by do-well View Post
I've been thinking about this alot lately but as much as we talk about "the American work ethic" it seems the true American dream is to not work. The key to doing that - as in getting out of the workforce early or to make some arrangements to prioritize something alongside work - is to live off of much less than what one makes.
Good afternoon, Dave Ramsey, your cover is well and truly blown.

The radio show is particularly amusing; couples with $250,000 or more in debt with a mortgage on a lot more house than they even know what to do with, two 20-30 year car loans they're less than two years into, one person either not working or only working part time, $85,000/yr or less total income and every luxury they could want, who just can't understand why they're not making progress. They act like Dave's come up with something new every time he tells them to sell the cars and buy a couple of beaters for cash, sell the 50" flatscreen, ditch cable service, etc. and concentrate on getting the house paid off.

People are amazed that we have no credit card debt, no cable, two paid-off cars, and are more interested in finding ways get money for the things we want than finding ways to spend money we don't have on those things o they can haunt us later. Once the house and my wife's student loans are paid off, we'll be in pretty good shape.
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Old 07-14-10, 03:36 PM
  #67  
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I haven't owned a car with less than 100,000 miles on it in a long time (125,000 on mine, 135,000 on the wife's), have no CC debt and just got cable TV for the first time in nearly 10 years because the wife really really wants to watch some show about a high school teacher drug dealer. We have the minimal channels nescessary to get her that. Just not having a car payment or a big cable bill puts hundreds in my pocket every month, which is thousands a year. Do that one or two years and there's your one or two months off.

I know not everyone can do that. There were times in my life when I couldn't either. The number that could, though is a bit higher than the "nearly nobody" we're makng it out to be.
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Old 07-14-10, 04:05 PM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by Ultraslide View Post
I'll blame the media since that's the only dead horse yet to be whipped
You can also blame regionalism and the differences in cultures. What people in Tennesse want is different from what people in Oregon want. It's regional and often state to state (or even city to city).
The companies that you could work for in Oregon would probably have different perks (above what is mandated) than those in Tennesse because of the people's cultures and what they hold to be important.

If you are moving to the US and want to do extensive bicycling tours I would suggest, if it is possible, find a state or city with a solid bicycling culture. The companies in those cities will probably be more inclined to recognizing the population's desires and will have policies that will attract people to work for them.
http://bikeleague.dreamhosters.com/p...a/communities/

Last edited by Casrider; 07-14-10 at 04:46 PM.
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Old 07-14-10, 04:07 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by John Coloccia View Post
I haven't owned a car with less than 100,000 miles on it in a long time (125,000 on mine, 135,000 on the wife's), have no CC debt and just got cable TV for the first time in nearly 10 years
I've never let go of one with less than 200K. In fact, last year was the first time I've let go of one that could leave under its own power with less than its blue book value in repairs. Yet I know a lot of couples where the husband is driving some 15 year old junker with parts falling off and working 60+ hours a week so the wife can work part time at a "hobby job" (or not at all) and still have a >$50k brand new car because "she needs something reliable to drive the kids to school in." Gotta be real reliable for that half-mile each way.

The others that get me are the ones with a 30-50 mile (each way) commute driving an extended cab full size pickup that gets less than 10MPG. I've pointed out to several of them who complained about fuel costs that they could pay $1500 for a used 30MPG Honda, leave the truck at home when they don't need it, maintain insurance/registration/inspection/etc. on both vehicles and still break even in 8-9 months, saving a fortune after that. Of course, they're also the ones that take a break 10-15 minutes before they get off work to go start the truck and let the heat or air conditioner run until they're ready to go.
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Old 07-14-10, 04:43 PM
  #70  
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I have not seen the words "bike" "bicycle" or "touring," used in any of the last ten responses. This thread fails.

We all come from different political backgrounds which is what makes a political issue so hard for us to agree on and find common ground. The OPs question was not a political one, you all made it one.

Lets talk about bikes on the Bike forum.

To the OP: When I lived in the US I quite my job to do my longer tours. I was in college at the time so I had the ability to quite and get a new job working in restaurants and bars.
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Old 07-14-10, 04:44 PM
  #71  
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Thirty years ago I read a book that summarized my own approach to life, money and bike touring. I have given it to many peopel to help them sort out the same discussion as this thread.

The book still in print is called: YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez. Still relevant today I think.

http://yourmoneyoryourlife.info/
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0143115766
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Old 07-14-10, 05:06 PM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by KD5NRH View Post
Good afternoon, Dave Ramsey, your cover is well and truly blown.

The radio show is particularly amusing; couples with $250,000 or more in debt with a mortgage on a lot more house than they even know what to do with, two 20-30 year car loans they're less than two years into, one person either not working or only working part time, $85,000/yr or less total income and every luxury they could want, who just can't understand why they're not making progress. They act like Dave's come up with something new every time he tells them to sell the cars and buy a couple of beaters for cash, sell the 50" flatscreen, ditch cable service, etc. and concentrate on getting the house paid off.

People are amazed that we have no credit card debt, no cable, two paid-off cars, and are more interested in finding ways get money for the things we want than finding ways to spend money we don't have on those things o they can haunt us later. Once the house and my wife's student loans are paid off, we'll be in pretty good shape.
OT but my wife and I are similar.
Apparently, according to the "Today" show, they are now calling that being a "cheapskate". I thought that was being frugal. Always thought cheapskates were people who were miserly and stingy.
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Old 07-14-10, 05:07 PM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by arctos View Post
Thirty years ago I read a book that summarized my own approach to life, money and bike touring. I have given it to many peopel to help them sort out the same discussion as this thread.

The book still in print is called: YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez. Still relevant today I think.

http://yourmoneyoryourlife.info/
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0143115766
pick it up at your local library
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Old 07-14-10, 05:09 PM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by zeppinger View Post
To the OP: When I lived in the US I quite my job to do my longer tours. I was in college at the time so I had the ability to quite and get a new job working in restaurants and bars.
should have stayed in school
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Old 07-14-10, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Casrider View Post
should have stayed in school
Restaurants and bars are great in University. They have short hours (generally just the rush hours for dinner and lunch), you can make a lot in a short period of time, and you can walk home every night with cash in had. Although, some states have different laws when it comes to tips. In CA its pretty good but in Arizona you make HALF of the minimum wage while working in a "tipping" industry. These jobs can also be pickup and dropped off whenever you want, current recession excluded.

However, you get no paid time off, no medical coverage of any kind, and those 4-5 hours you work 3 times a week really suck a lot of your energy out of you because they can be intense! I thought the whole thing was pretty fun. Hardly a long term solution though if you want steady reliable income or a family. It worked for me though because in CA your tuition pays for your medical care through the University.

Universities are like mini-Europes in the US. You pay a premuim to live there but you get free quality health care, free access to public facilities such as gyms, pools, sports groups, laundry, and attractive women (I know, I know). Lots of free time and social interaction. The best part is that everyone gets to study whatever they want. There are few people who hate what they do but do it just for the money. The ones that do usually drop out or change majors by their second years.
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