Travel Makes Me Love the US More


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Last week I read this great blog post from Kim at So Many Places, about her feelings after coming back to America after traveling the world. She makes a ton of valid points about how frustrating it is to come home to a country obsessed with money and things, with rules and “safety” over experiences.

Everything she says is absolutely true, but I still felt this vague sense of disagreement as I read. I finally traced it back to one of the first lines of her post:

“In fact, my love affair with America has been on a sharp decline since I started traveling around the world two years ago.”

Oh. That’s Kim’s experience and it’s perfectly valid, but for me personally, the opposite has been true. The more I travel, the more I love and appreciate my home country.

When I started traveling, just after college, my primary goal was to be anywhere but the US. As a native Washingtonian with very liberal parents I grew up politically aware and well versed in many of the issues this country struggles with. I wasn’t happy with my country, and I was ready to see what else the world had to offer.

Well, I’ve been traveling off and on for the last 8 years, and I’ve found the world has a LOT to offer. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel through both very poor and very rich countries. I’ve lived in England, China, Argentina and Mexico- very, very different countries. In the process, I’ve learned a lot about America, and myself as an American.

Being an American who travels can be incredibly frustrating. You have to be an ambassador for your country and you have to constantly defy the stereotype of the ugly American. You have to answer questions about America’s policies on gun control, abortion, evolution etc, and usually the only answer you can give is “I don’t know, it’s messed up.”

I would be lying if I said it didn’t make me feel a little defensive about the US. I mean yeah, we suck at a lot of stuff! Yes, there are a lot of really dumb, incredibly vocal people here. But, there is a lot of awesome here too.

Here are just a few things I didn’t know I loved about the US before I started traveling:

  • America is incredibly multicultural. I adore the fact that I can eat authentic Mexican, Vietnamese, Ethiopian and Italian all in the same week.
  • People are friendly here. They smile at strangers, and start conversations on the subway. I love the fact that I can basically start talking to anyone sitting next to me at a bar and it won’t be weird.
  • American’s are optimistic. There is a strong belief in the US that you can grow up to do anything you want to do. Although the truth is more complicated, I love that we believe that.
  • Shopping- Capitalism at it’s ugly finest means that you can get a hold of anything and everything, usually for pretty cheap. Our supermarkets are sprawling, our electronics are affordable and our fashion is disposable (okay maybe that’s not great). There is a reason people from other country’s come to America to shop.
  • Ingenuity- So many interesting new businesses from tech start ups to food trucks. My favorite is America’s thriving craft beer scene.
  • We are constantly evolving. There are a lot of people pushing for terrible things, but an equal number pushing back, pushing for change and progress. Look at the push for marriage equality. It takes us awhile, but we’re getting there. That’s not just my optimism speaking.
  • We cook the best hamburger’s in the world. Juicy red-centered ones, e-coli be damned.

I love America as a traveler as well. It’s one of the most geographically, culturally and gastronomically diverse countries in the world. I truly believe I could spend the rest of my life just exploring the US and never run out of beautiful, interesting or weird things to see. I would never limit myself like that, but it’s nice to know that all this is waiting in my own backyard.

So do those wonderful things excuse America’s faults? Probably not, but they do complicate my view of this great and messy country.

There are a lot of things about America I do NOT love. Politics would be a big one. I obsess over each election cycle, bemoaning a system which convinces people to vote against their best interests. I am truly terrified by this country’s attitudes over gun control. I am, as always, frustrated by sexism, racism, classicism on and on and on. These things frustrate me, they make me worry about the future, and question whether we should make our homes abroad permanently.

Truthfully though, I’ll always come back to my home country. I love it, in spite of it’s many flaws, too much to stay away. My family is here, my roots are here and deep down- I feel like an America (hopefully not the ugly kind). As Christine mentions in this lovely post, there are both great and ugly people everywhere in the world. The US isn’t a collection of stereotypes, it’s a collection of very, very different people.

So, I guess our relationship, like all long-term relationships is complicated.

I just know that I’ll always come home.

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Stephanie Yoder is a girl who can't sit still! She is the co-founder and editor of Why Wait To See the World. Learn more about her here.
  1. wow I related to every word of this post! Living in India, I get to go home 1 month a year and I eat the best food, shop like mad, and talk to strangers.. smile at everyone who walks by.. It was funny- my UK bf said to me at the grocery store, why do people keep smiling at me? I’m like bc you made eye contact with them, that’s the norm here!

  2. I couldn’t agree more! I am currently living in Spain and while there are many things I love about the change in culture and day to day life, (especially siestas!) I miss so many things about home. And while America still has a long way to go in the realm of feminism to curb sexism in our culture, I think it is worth noting that we are far ahead of some places with respect to treatment of women in public. Not making eye contact with men here is hard to remember to do, because it is in our nature to look people in the eye and smile, but in many places when a woman does that to a man it has much different meaning than just a friendly passing

  3. Steph, I have to disagree with you on the Friendliness Factor – I remember striking up conversations on a daily basis with folks on the Metro during my DC commute, or online at Starbucks, and often, I would say 8 of 10 times, I would get looked at like I was a crazy person. “Why is this crazy woman talking to me???” My comments would generally be about the weather, or the commute, or something I saw them reading or wearing, but you would think I was trying to steal their first born. I remember being at a Starbucks in Palo Alto waiting for my Venti Chai Latte and looking at every other person looking at their Blackberrys or iPhones. I made a comment to the guy next to me, saying, “ah remember hearing stories about cafes being a place where conversations took place, ideas were exchanged. Now, no one talks to one another.” He grunted and returned to his iPhone, probably to Tweet about the crazy woman he just met at Starbucks. Outside of the US, I find people way more willing to talk to strangers, to talk at a cafe. I strike up conversations at the cafes here and end up in very lively, thought provoking conversations. Today’s talk was about human rights abuses and the concept of happiness. Yeah, I am in an uber liberal town, but still. When I was last in the US there was not a constant presence of friendliness, but of fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of the government, fear of terrorism, the kind of fear that paralyzes people and makes them stay in their homes afraid of the neighbors. I love that you still consider the US home, and that you will always come back to it. I left wondering when, or even if, I will return.

    • I mean, it’s definitely dependent on your personal experiences, and some countries are friendlier than others. When I moved to England at 22 I had to learn very fast to tone down my bubbly personality because my exuberant friendliness kind of freaked people out.

      You really make me want to come visit in Bali!

  4. As travelers, it is so easy to overlook all the positives of our own country. Thanks for the reminder! One of the first longer trips I took was a cross country road trip in the US. I figured that it would be best to get to know my own country before completely writing it off. I’m so glad I did! We called it our “Intro Tour” to the US, and I will definitely do it again someday!

    • We drove across country for 3 months when I was a kid and it definitely changed a lot of my views about the US. Want to do it again in a few years with Mike.

  5. Travel definitely makes me appreciate things that I take for granted in the United States, such as the freedom of speech and being able to speak your mind (as opposed to Asia where it is frowned upon to display your feelings).

    I too also love the diversity here in the States and that I can meet people who speak different languages, eat different foods, and have different cultures on a daily basis. It is truly beautiful. I also love the diversity in our landscapes and climate and how you can experience every kind of environment 🙂

    • Oh man that is so true and I didn’t even touch on it! Living in China really made me feel differently about our country and government. While admittedly extremely flawed, our government can’t even compare to the repression we saw over there.

  6. Oh! I love this. I have to say though I definitely realized many things from living abroad. So many to name! I’ve learned things I like and want to adapt to my own life style. One is that I felt like America is very independent and every man for himself based. Where many other counties I’ve lived in seem more of the community. I love that in America we have options, choices, and variety. We have it “all” essentially when it comes to opportunity, food, and dreams. I miss craft beer and I miss being able to speak up, speak out, and stand up for what we believe in! At the same time I think that fuels lots of debates, crazy politics, and sometimes conflict. Great points made!! I am not sure we will return to the states to start our family, but I am sure thankful of the opportunities I had as a kid & that we can travel very easily on the American passort 🙂 also, each experience helps mold who we are and I would never deny that I had a great childhood filled with variety & choices… And for that I’m thankful. So thankful!

    • I love your response! I think it’s two sides of the same coin- we are very individualistic, which I do like, but also yes, very independent which can be harmful in the long run in certain ways. I am so grateful for travel because it shows so many other ways to live.

  7. I have to agree more with Kim’s post and with Amber’s comment on this one. Yes, there are a lot of great things about the US, but I’ve found over the past 3 years that I relate to it less and less, and I don’t think I could ever go back to living there. I lived in Atlanta for half my life, and while people certainly were friendly more often than not, it was a fake friendliness. Germans aren’t exactly known for being friendly, but at least their not fake. The consumerism in the US is overwhelming. The sheer number of people who prioritize buying the latest gadgets or expensive purses or cars over important things like spending time with friends and family is crazy to me. The commercial Kim linked to in her post was horrifying. I could not believe it was somehow seen as acceptable to say the US is better because they work longer hours, and other countries are lazy, and that for some reason we should value a fancy new car over a few extra weeks of vacation and quality time with our family. The spying the US does is appalling. The fact that I not only have to file taxes in the US despite living in Germany, but I also have to fill out a form every year to tell the US my foreign bank account info is appalling. The direction the government keeps moving towards scares me. Example: The current case where the Supreme Court just ruled that a for-profit company can choose not to cover birth control for its employees simply because the people who run the company don’t agree with birth control on religious grounds. An employer should not have any say over this. An employer should not get to know its employees’ medical situations. The fear that so many Americans have about foreigners or anyone who is different saddens me. And that fear keeps multiplying on itself. As you said, the gun situation is awful. People think they need guns to protect themselves from a burglar or even from invasion from another country. Which means people accidentally shoot someone they shouldn’t, or someone who should have no access to a gun can easily steal one from a family member, friend, neighbor, and then go shoot up a bunch of kids at a school or shoppers at a mall. I don’t fear that stuff here, but I think if I were living in the US again, I would fear that because it happens so often now.

    The list goes on and on really. I certainly miss my friends and family in the US, and there are days when living in a foreign country and dealing with a language I don’t speak very well is really tough. But most days I’m happy with the trade-off.

    • I mean, I can’t really disagree with any of those points at all (although the fake-friendliness thing, I keep hearing it, but I don’t see it? Even when I lived in Atlanta. Maybe I’m too naive/optimistic). Mike and I have thought long and hard about whether we could start a family in a country like this, and it’s an ongoing debate. I really have grown more fond of the US over time though.

  8. Yes, yes, yes, I agree with all of this. I read Kim’s post last week, and I remember feeling that way the first time I ever went abroad. However, something about Kim’s post didn’t settle quite with me, and I wasn’t able to put it into words until you and Christine wrote your posts (and it makes me want to write a response of my own.) my last stint away (9 months) has left me coming back to the US and not finding myself ready to leave again (I leave in two months). I hate a lot of things about the USA, including guns, sexism, racism, intertwining religion and politics, all the things you mentioned. But we do do a lot of I things right as well. Living in France for a longer period has made me appreciate all the things about our country that you have listed, and more. I’m never going to stop traveling, but I could see myself settling down eventually in the USA. I couldn’t have said that a year ago.

    Thanks for posting,

    • It’s funny how travel can change your perspective in so many different ways (and differently from person to person).

  9. I also started traveling after college and I had the same mentality – I wanted to be anywhere but the US. I recently returned home to California after traveling in Southeast Asia for seven months. And while there are so many issues that I do have with the US (which I won’t go into) it felt really good to be back. I’m also in the process of applying for jobs abroad, specifically in Indonesia. It’s been really eye-opening dealing with the realities of dealing with labor laws, taxes, religion and customs in another country — especially one that’s so different than the US. It’s a complicated subject. But there are most definitely things the US gets right (well, at least partially!).

  10. Steph, thank you for writing this!! These have been my exact thoughts for the past month, down to each bullet point. I love to hate on the U.S. when I’m gone—I’m that “different” American abroad who doesn’t own a gun, supports gay marriage, doesn’t represent the stereotypes that most people I meet are expecting to hear. And so much of what goes on in this country IS despicable. BUT it’s getting increasingly harder to hate….I come back and people are incredibly open and friendly (compared to where I was in Spain….I’m sure it varies, like Amber mentions!), there is SUCH diversity, I can get 40,000 cuisines within a square block in San Francisco, and there are so many innovative people doing incredible (and sometimes not so incredible 😉 things. Plus, I feel like it’s easy to bash America’s policies when compared to some in, say, Europe, but elsewhere in the world, governments aren’t always the most kosher either….
    The problem with my newfound love of my country is that it’s making it difficult to think about moving back to Spain in August.

  11. I really want to visit America, it has so much to offer. I don’t want to be there for a long period of time though. I mean, for a start gun laws. This whole hobby lobby thing has frustrated the hell out of me. I have spent the last day or so explaining to Americans, who essentially react like I’ve said I’m from another planet in a different galaxy, that sort of health care (i.e. sexual health) is entirely free here from getting condoms, or nexplanon as far as sexual health screening. I just… I dunno, I guess I get frustrated at the very same things you must do, too, having seen so much more of the world.

    • The Hobby Lobby thing has pretty much ruined my whole week. Very angry at it. I guess at some point it seems like the politics of this country are so divorced from the people I know in real life, they hardly seem related. I don’t know a single person in real life who agrees with that (or with the second amendment gun nuts etc). They are out there, I believe it, but it sure ain’t everybody.

  12. I’ve lived in 3 countries (Mexico, England and Colombia) other than the US, my birthplace and I’ve traveled to scores of others. I have friends all over the world. In some other countries, supposedly more politically advanced than the US, there is an ugly undercurrent of a disturbing brand of nationalism and ethnocentrism — and it’s not really that far below the surface. As a Jew (even a non-observant one), I still get queasy in Europe and know I need to keep my ethnicity to myself traveling in most of the Middle East. In the US, we don’t have our race, religion or ethnicity on any official paperwork. We try to be a melting pot, but many of us revel in the “tossed salad” aspects of our culture. Yes, we are far from colorblind, or any other kind of blind, but the collective “we”,did elect a person of color president—twice. We are struggling with where we fit into the new global community of nations and Lord knows we have been way too fast to jump into frays that are none of our business, but many nations have the US Department of Defense on speed dial when the sh-t really hits the fan. Among ourselves, we are annoyingly contentious, self-righteous and frequently “out there”, but most of us will end any “argument” by agreeing to disagree and let’s get a beer. On a person to person basis, we are mostly kind and generous. We certainly have vast room for improvement, but most of us don’t deny that and try to be better. I used to be more chronically upset about us (you can still see where the Canadian maple leaf was sewn onto my backpack 🙂 ), but extensive travel has convinced me that at least many of us are trying to be good citizens of our communities, our nation and the world. I love to travel. I want to be a citizen of the world, but I also get a warm glow when the stern faced immigration officer at a US airport, closes my passport, looks me in the eye and says, “Welcome home.”

  13. USA is definitely beautiful. Most of the time, people head to Europe for a holiday, but there is so much to explore in the US too.

  14. If anything, travel has taught me to see the beauty in any place, including the town where I was born and the city I moved to after. There is a lot to hate about the States, no doubt, but it’s still a country I want to visit and explore. You can’t throw the baby out with the bath water!
    Also, I’ve met very few “stereotypical” Americans… Though maybe that’s because the ones I meet are generally those who travel.

  15. Thank you so much for writing this!!!! I read that other article too, and it completely rubbed me the wrong way. It was like she had never even talked to a local person when traveling abroad. Living in Brazil for the past year, I can confidently say I love the US even more now and can confidently say that our problems are not unique. There is no such thing as a perfect country, but now I can see how many things we actually do right! Another thing I love about the states is our sense of national pride, we love America! That’s something you won’t find abroad, especially in Brazil.

  16. So glad we felt similarly about that post! Totally agree with your points on what an awesome place to travel the USA is. Since moving back, I’m totally split between going abroad for every vacay or saving money and time by exploring closer to home. I’m still dying to visit Maine, Yellowstone, Wyoming–and cities like Seattle and Detroit! There’s a lot to offer here, and I think people often miss it by assuming that the grass is greener on the other side.

  17. Great read. i have a very love/hate view of America, and I really appreciated many of the points you made. Currently at home in DC dreaming of travel, I have been ever so annoyed with Americans lately, but you are right, there are some good people here, with some good values, and there are some beautiful places and great cities. You just have to find happiness where you are, I am sure after living long enough anywhere I would have complaints!

    Thanks for your thoughts,
    Katie

  18. Steph, I do identify with Kim’s post. my family and I have become permanent travelers and we decided to be nomadic for a lot of reasons detailed in Kim’s post.

    I do thank you for bringing the other side to the for front though. I am Canadian and I love my home, not everything but a lot of things about home.

    I have traveled a lot and I think many things can come from a travel experience and those things will be different for every traveler. Different for you and Kim and me. Every country is different, better in ways and worse in some depending on ones experiences. That is what I love about travel the most. The perspective it gives you. If it makes you appreciate your home or another part of the world more than before it’s all good:) Peace.

    • Yes, I definitely think it’s great that people can have totally different experiences with this. Since Kim shared hers, I thought I would share my opposite viewpoint. They are both totally valid reactions to living abroad.

  19. I love American Craft beer too! I also love the National Parks. Of course the US has it’s faults but there is so much to love too. People need to see past the bad and see the good. Also, I think some people need to see past the good and see the bad – nowhere is perfect and the imperfections make it what it is as much as the good bits

  20. Hey Steph, I’m new to your blog but this was a really great first post to read. I live in and I’m from England, but I’ve travelled to America a couple of times. I’m doing a three week road trip in September and hitting up a bunch of different states and I agree that you have so much beauty in the US that I can’t wait to see what I can cram into such a short space of time. I also agree that for the most part American’s are friendly, here in the UK shop assistants avoid you, but every time I’ve travelled to the US people make conversation with me – even if they just ask how my day is going and I think that’s super nice. I am always in a love-hate relationship with the laws in the states that say I can only visit for three months at a time, as I would really love to stay a little longer, but even if I had the opportunity to live in America long term, I’m not sure if I would take it based on some of my own political views (gun control is a huge thing for me). I guess it’s always going to be a complex situation but ultimately there are flaws wherever you go, it’s just whether you are willing to deal with them.

  21. While I understand the frustration that Kim expressed in her post and have certainly felt similarly, I do agree with your point of view as well. I think there is nothing like leaving your home country for a while to help you appreciate it. Maybe there’s something to that whole “grass is always greener” philosophy, but I know that before we left to travel, Tony couldn’t list 5 things he liked about the U.S. Now, even though we LOVED Asia, after 2 years away, I can tell you that he has now come to realize that so many of the things he took for granted, things that were obscured by what is wrong in the U.S., are ones he now recognizes & appreciates. Being able to drink water straight from the tap, see roads free from litter, the diversity of the landscape, the quality of the services on offer… these were things we both were blind to before.

    As travelers, I think it’s easy to romanticize the places we visit, because the truth is, we’re not really there long enough to dig beneath the surface and truly appreciate the realities of what it is to live there as a citizen. The more I travel, the more I realize that every place has it’s problems, from poverty to corrupt governments to women’s rights to drinking water and health care. It’s easy to ignore things like this when you’re just passing through (even if you’re there for a few months), but I’ve yet to visit a single place in my travels of 20+ countries that didn’t have some issue that wasn’t disturbing.

    • Very good points. If I were to go back and re-write this I might say that LIVING abroad was what really made me appreciate the US, more so than just traveling. It is easy to romanticize places but it doesn’t take long to realize everywhere has problems. Argentina and China in particular made me really appreciate our own flawed government system, London made me appreciate the people and Mexico, Mexico definitely made me appreciate tap water 🙂

  22. It’s so true that traveling makes us appreciate where we come from! Like you, I wanted to be anywhere but the US! Well, I really just wanted to get the hell out of Florida. And I did–to Portland, Oregon. (The Pacific Northwest is truly amazing, yeah?)

    I finally left the states nearly two years ago to teach in Korea, and now I’m in New Zealand. Although I’m sometimes embarrassed to admit where I come from (because of the stereotypes), I now look back fondly of my home country. There are so many things that I took for granted when I lived there.

    But I sure don’t miss the small talk Americans like to do!

    • Oh man, you know, I HATE getting my haircut because I feel so awkward trying to make small talk with the stylist. I guess I would put that on my “don’t love” list.

  23. I totally agree!! I live in London but am American and now all I want to do is travel within the USA!

  24. I couldn’t agree more with you, Steph! When I left the US to live abroad for the first time in 2009 I hated the country I was leaving and couldn’t wait to never come back. As I’ve lived abroad and traveled more I’ve come to appreciate so many things about our home country. Like you, a lot of (most probably) the political things infuriate me but the food, beer, friendliness, landscapes, etc. have me longing for home. I’ve been living in London for the past 10 months and holy hell people will NOT converse with strangers here. Even at a bar. It’s like…you must not talk to or look at anyone you do not know. Ever. It drives me crazy.

    I think that when you are traveling, and even when you are an expat somewhere, it’s easy to only see the good things about a place. Every country has their problems but when you are only passing through or don’t speak the language or have a big bank account compared to the “locals” it can be easy to look past these things.

    Also, consumerism is not solely an American problem.

    • London was my first big trip abroad. It’s STILL my favorite international city but man, it got really old having to tone down my personality.
      Good point about consumerism.

  25. I agree – with you and the people who come back to the US not loving the US.

    I’ve alternated between living in the US and somewhere else my whole life. I’m currently in Germany. Living and traveling abroad, as well as living and traveling around the US has made me see things from this weird perspective.

    For things I used to be pretty unforgiving about towards my own American culture, I can now cut some slack.

    Every country – even countries that have stereotypes suggesting otherwise – is on some point on a scale for everything. I haven’t seen any country get it perfect – although, in my mind, Switzerland is as close to perfection as I can imagine.

    I saw people in small towns in China gawking and staring at blondes and I was lenient towards that because – how often do small town Chinese people see blondes? But, why wasn’t I as lenient as that to small town Americans? Is it because Americans should know better? But, what, Chinese shouldn’t? Is it because we make such a big deal about it in America? Well, if that’s the case then I’m glad we do.

    Living in Germany I always hear about how organized and efficient this country is. But, you know what, it’s not. Maybe it’s organized and efficient compared to neighboring countries, I don’t know. And there are definitely aspects of it that are so logical and precise that I can’t imagine it done any other way – but it’s not perfect. And there are plenty of examples where I’d prefer the American system over this one (standing in any lines, getting internet service in my apartment earlier than 2 weeks after move-in, having someone who knows someone else’s job well enough to be able to help you while the normal person is on a 3 week holiday). (And – for the record – I recognize that this may be because I’m an expat living here and if I was not an American and had to go through their system to live there I would not be happy either. I’m just saying that not every country, even the one that is stereotyped to be efficient, is actually efficient.)

    I love the things you pointed out: the friendliness (or at least, more of a chance of friendliness – there are friendlier places, but also meaner places (ahem)), the multicultural everything – food, celebrations, people, the ingenuity, the shopping, evolving – I love all of it. And I ESPECIALLY love a good American hamburger.

  26. Definitely an interesting topic to dialogue about. I have found that over the years my travels have made me understand better what the USA DOES have to offer over some other places and how good we really do have it for a lot of reasons. Yes, there are other places in the world that align better with some of my ideals, but traveling has generally made me really appreciate being born an American. I think many travelers (especially those just starting out) tend to idealize other cultures and lifestyles and I know I did at first too. But, I’ve also come to realize that the USA is a pretty incredible place.

  27. I really like this post, I can only agree to a certain extent because I am not American, but I love the US so so so much and definitely want to move there at some point in the future! Every time I am there I have the best time because the people are SO friendly (especially compared to Germans) and I adore the endless variety of landscapes-
    It really makes me angry that people hate the US so much and obviously there are loads of things that are scarily wrong with it, but so are other countries. Every country has their own problems and traveling through is often not enough to realize that.
    No country is perfect.

  28. I agree! The more I travel, the more it makes me aware of how grateful I need to be for everything we, as Americans, have access to. During my first backpacking trip abroad (right after I left for college), I met a few Finnish girls in a hostel that scoffed at me after I admitted that I am American and not Canadian. They made fun of the fact that they knew so much about US politics, and I knew nothing about the structure of most European governments. They told me that Americans are arrogant, self-righteous and ignorant. For some reason, I took what they said to heart, and I felt ashamed for being American. Now, looking back, I realize how close-minded those girls were. I do think there are parts of our culture that make us, perhaps, disliked as tourists. But just look at the little mini cultures we have in each of our fifty states! And our backyard isn’t so bad… Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon… the list goes on!

  29. Something didn’t sit quite right with me on that post as well. I mean, if ALL Americans were so obsessed with all those things in the Cadillac, how did people like me, you, and the authors get out there and travel the world? There are 300 million people in the U.S, you cannot use a broad brush on it, simple as that.

  30. This is a really interesting perspective, Steph. The more I travel, the more I notice things in the UK that just make my blood boil. The ridiculous price of things like electricity and gas; how bad the fruit we import tastes; the disturbing trend of people becoming progressively more racist and xenophobic for no good reason thanks to hate groups like UKIP and Britain First playing on the average citizen’s disillusionment with our lying, cheating government.

    Yet, it makes me look at my country more. It makes me more adventurous and want to explore parts of it I’ve never been to, and it makes me appreciate how fortunate I am to come from a country where live is relatively easy and people don’t have to deal with issues like excessive corruption, poverty, or a lack of access to things like water, public transport, or the internet.

    If there’s one thing that travel does, it’s open our minds. It’s made me hate the things I already hated about my country even more, and love the things that I love even more. Going back home is always a strange mix of emotions, both good, bad, and befuddled.

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