Much America

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So, in about 8 hours, I’m going to get on a plane that will take me to London. I’m kind of freaking out about it, as I’ve never been to Europe, and I’m about to spend a month backpacking through it. Tbh, I’ve been “kind of freaking out about it” since my plane tickets showed up in my Delta app in November. I expect that my next blog post(s) will be me ranting about various European cities, so before I leave, I wanted to talk a little bit about America. 

Here is a short list of some things that make America so cool/things I will miss.

1. The sheer amount of places I can visit without needing a passport. 

One of the cool things about ‘Murica is that it’s so big, yes. So are Russia and Australia, but America is really special in this aspect because it isn’t as though half of America is populated and half of it is outback/icy wasteland. You can drive coast to coast and actually call it one of the/THE coolest roadtrip of your life. I mean, you’re going through so many cities, so many pockets of weird culture that don’t seem quite right. If you’re a US citizen, you have direct access to New York, and LA, and Chicago, and all of the cool places that have killer post cards. You have beaches and lakes and crazy metropolitan areas and landmarks and strange pockets of middle-of-nothing culture that makes it even more special. And everywhere you go, people are waving their star spangled banners and drinking Coke and having obese children, and it’s all so American that it doesn’t really matter if you live in Nowhere, Oklahoma or if you live in New York City. 

2. On that note, the people that are totally down to just be them.

I mean, it’s the same kind of thing. When you’re driving through Nowhere, Oklahoma, you find people that are just as happy to be doing their Nowhere business as they are doing anything else. It’s a bit of a corrupted thought, because politicians buying their way to power falls under the same category as some rancher embracing his cowboy roots, but I think it’s cool. There’s a reason Americans are so boisterously American, I think, and I think it’s because we all kind of have this sense of America that isn’t defined by your skin color or your financial background or your culture. If you want to be a classical-piano-playing cowboy that enjoys bar-hopping and high end spa getaways, I bet there’s somebody out there that can relate to you. I mean, the sheer amount of space means that there’s a crazy amount of people just hanging out and being themselves, and it’s just so COOL. Yes, there are still a lot of problems with tolerance and status quo and image in this country, but I think we’re getting there. Hey, Illinois legalized same-sex marriage today, and that’s pretty special. We may not be as free as New Zealand, but we are certainly free to be American, and that’s pretty awesome.

3. American prosperity (aka the “American Dream”)

Some people believe in it and some people don’t. I personally think that if you have a good head on your shoulders and the right amount of work ethic, you can pull yourselves up and prosper in some way. You also need a good amount of luck, but America right now is all about luck. In fact, I think it’s just the sheer amount of American luck going around that makes the American Dream even exist in the first place. So many people in America are just ready to do their own thing, and that leads to so much entrepreneurship and innovation it’s insane. I love me some history, but America is so shiny and new that it’s basically just a big dose of beginner’s luck in itself. I’m not going to go around scolding people for not being billionaires because they didn’t have the right work ethic, but I am confident in America’s ability to give people so much more than what they thought they could achieve. People aren’t afraid to dream here, and while you have your really cynical pockets of the world (see: the Westminster Schools), there are also a whole bunch of optimistic ones. America is rich and prosperous, and there’s no denying that fact. We could talk about economics all day – I love me some good American capitalism – but I think a lot to do with it is just that America is willing to clap you on the shoulders and tell you to give it a shot, whatever “it” may mean to you.

 

4. The American flag

So, while everyone else was like STRIPES! America was like, “nah man, stripes AND stars.” The star-spangled banner is possibly the coolest flag out there, partly because it’s really good looking and doesn’t involve three stripes. There are other flags out there that do it well (China, Korea, UK), but for the most part, you either have stripes, or stripes plus animal of some type…America wins.

Although, Norway is very clearly the mother of all flags:

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5. Free refills, free bread, free water.

Seriously? Apparently these aren’t things that are super common in Europe. And I have issues with buying water.

Alright, friends, I’m out. 😀 Off to a place where “old” buildings are more than 50 years old and history involves more than one country. 

~ELS

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