The first and most important stop for me in Ohio was the Amish Country. I craved to see and better understand this religious community and I was pleasantly surprised how open, warm and different among themselves these people are.
A lovely couple in Michigan taught us that we can identify Amish houses when we do not see the overhead electric power lines. Use of electricity would be against the Bible, which says that you shall not be "conformed to the world".
I was mesmerized by the peaceful image of laundry hanging outside (this might look normal to my mom, but for the rest of us with dryers it is an attraction), green hills obscuring one white farmhouse after another and families sitting on their porches after a hard day at the farm. My biggest joy was just driving through these episodes in the lives of strangers, passing horses with buggies and waving back to all the Amish people. I loved that there was no judgment from the Amish, nor any strange cult-like smiles that I had experienced in the Mormon lands. This time it was completely different.
While the above sounds beautiful and idyllic, there are other interesting aspects of life that we have found here. Even though the Amish Country is small, there are several different communities living here with very different perspectives. Some of them are strictly against "modern" innovations such as electricity, that they believe might spark a competition for status goods, or photographs, that might cultivate personal vanity. Others, on the other hand, use their phones while driving a car from the grocery store, but still wear modest dresses and hats.
The Amish lifestyle is mostly regulated by the "Ordnung". It is an order which is updated by the community members and regulates things like technology usage, dress code, religious duties and interactions with outsiders. The order varies by community and so does the Amish lifestyle.
It was interesting to observe the RV park owner, who was accepting only cash and personal checks (no cards), but drove his truck to show us our campsite. The technologies are accepted because of the convenience and personal gain rather than some interpretation of the bible. But do not rush to judge. Community members are only allowed to finish eight grades of school, so nobody expects them to be super logical.
After tasting the Amish food, greeting every Amish on the way and gazing at the horses parked in front of the supermarket, I am very excited to come back to this topic again when we are in Pennsylvania.
While we are analyzing the Amish lifestyle and how it fits or does not fit within the modern world, we can turn the attention to ourselves, people who live on the road full time. We are also struggling to fit into the standard expected by the government. Since we do not have a permanent home, we do not belong to any state for income tax purposes, we do not have a real "billing" address, our car license plate makes no sense, we have to use "out-of-state" health insurance, we can not participate in the census, we can not vote in any local election and the list goes on and on. The bureaucracy has not caught up to the modern life without borders either.