What I Like Most About The USA

What I Like Most About The USA

By |2016-07-21T23:46:54+00:00February 11th, 2013|USA|100 Comments

Crowd in NY
Every now and then, while out there traveling, I end up in a conversation in which someone asks me “What do you like best about your home country?” The first couple of times it happened, I actually had to think real hard to come up with an answer, simply because I spend so much time focusing on international travel and all of these foreign destinations that I rarely paid much attention to what I enjoy about the USA.

However, the more I traveled, the more the answer to such a question eventually did become quite clear. It became quite clear because I realized that every time I returned to the USA, the exact same thing happened.

My flight lands. I get off the airplane and I walk through the airport. I stand in the immigration line and then, I just look around me. Before long, I feel goosebumps forming on my skin. I proceed through the immigration inspection, grab my backpack, pass through the customs check and walk into the airport terminal. And the goosebumps intensify.

Then, for the duration of my stay in my home country, whether I’m in New York City, Boston, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Florida, or just about anywhere else, the feeling remains, the feeling that I am surrounded by something that doesn’t really exist anywhere else on the planet.

What I am surrounded by, and what has become my answer to the question “What do I like best about the USA?”, is…’incredible diversity‘.

Where else can you find such a diverse collection of people living together? Just on my walk this morning from my friend’s apartment to the small cafe in Brooklyn where I am writing this post, I passed by businesses that are owned by Yemenis, Thais, Chinese, Italians, Mexicans, Ethiopians, French and Indians. That was in a span of just three blocks.

And while New York City offers diversity to the extreme, and I realize that such diversity is not present in every single town in this country and that everyone is not living together in perfect harmony all of the time, it is impossible not to notice, and appreciate, the level of diversity that does exist in so many parts of the USA. After spending so much time overseas, I certainly notice the impressive diversity here instantly and I certainly feel lucky to have grown up among it and to now be able to experience it several times per year.

Life is just so much more interesting and fulfilling when you get to interact with so many different kinds of people every day!

Now I pass it over to you as I ask…

What do you like best about your own country?


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  1. Stuart December 13, 2018 at 8:14 am - Reply

    The personal liberty, broad way of thinking and the options/opportunities!

  2. Aaron December 13, 2013 at 7:21 pm - Reply

    I too think of the diverse aspects here in the U.S. I’ve lived in the UK and traveled abroad to many places and although it sounds cliche/overly patriotic/corney I also get goosebumps when I see my flag coming through customs. I feel a tremendous sense of pride at being a part of the greatest experiment of mankind, i.e. a citizen of the USA. Despite our many problems, we are still the hope of the world and the place that many strive to be (hence the diversity). We are hated and envied for what we are by some but are loved and desired by many more for what we represent.

  3. Mike July 27, 2013 at 4:59 pm - Reply

    I am a Brit now living in Florida the past 4 years and NYC for 2 years before that.. I LOVE my that my country has healthcare for everyone, train connections that are 1st rate to everywhere in Europe and how we treat our people, particularly retired people, in the UK. I have American relatives here in Florida. I could not believe 40% of American has no access to healthcare! And my relatives just retired…sure the food and “diversity” is nice but, how does one live on $1,200 a month??? Add in that there is no reliable train connections nation-wide(still I have seen 35 states!) and I am quite happy to be moving home soon. (sorry..I dont hate anything about USA, I just think there is a lot of fluffy logic going on here LOL)

    • Wandering Earl July 27, 2013 at 6:11 pm - Reply

      Hey Mike – I’m not sure it was fluffy logic as the title of the post is “What I Like Most About the USA” and that is the diversity. I didn’t say I love everything about the country, that’s for sure 🙂

  4. Frank April 9, 2013 at 3:10 pm - Reply

    I’m surprised that no one has mentioned the sheer convenience of just about everything in the US, when I lived in in England I was shocked when the grocery store near my apartment had limited hours on the weekends.

    When you get home from the bar after having one too many drinks you can have hot food delivered to YOU!

    By far, the culture of convenience is what I miss most when traveling. That’s not to say I don’t love the idiosyncrasies of wherever I happen to be visiting in fact it’s really party of the reason I travel, but man…sometimes you just want someone to bring you a pizza.

  5. Ruby Hooper April 7, 2013 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    Melbourne, Australia

    Currently I’m living in a small town in Spain on student exchange and since being here I’ve definitely become extremely appreciative of my country and proud of our diversity, amazing food and such a high acceptance of cultural difference. Since being here the number one thing I miss is food, Asian and African especially, as well as the amazing vegetables!

    • Wandering Earl April 9, 2013 at 9:10 pm - Reply

      Hey Ruby – Diversity is definitely something to be missed when you grow up in a country that has so much of it.

  6. Steven February 20, 2013 at 3:37 pm - Reply

    Apart from the travel I have done, I consider three cities my home. My parents were born and raised in Hamburg, Germany and over time I have spent a quite a bit of time there with the family. I was born and raised in Sydney, Australia. My children were born, and are being raised in Seattle, US. All cities I have spent considerable time are diverse, people great. After living in Seattle the last 6 years, the food I miss from both Hamburg and Australia is a good Doner Kebab. Both Hamburg and Sydney have great kebabs, and the Gyro’s offered in Seattle just don’t cut it.

    Sydney I miss the lazy Sunday afternoon, sitting on a beer garden, with the views of a good beach (and thunderstorms – none here in Seattle). Seattle I will miss the sheer beauty of the place. Green everywhere, and on a clear day, seeing the mountains surrounding the city, the drives and the hikes. Hamburg I simply miss the ease to get to other countries. Geographically Seattle and Sydney aren’t condusive to just jumping in a car and being in another country in short while (except obviously Canada for Seattle).

  7. Sam February 20, 2013 at 8:11 am - Reply

    I would probably say the same as you, Earl, about London, where I’m from. And of course, the same goes for the UK as the US, in that not everywhere is so diverse as the big cities. Sometimes it’s hard, though, to find things I like about a country I’ve actively chosen to leave for long periods of time, but when I’m back there, I remember what it is I’ve missed.

    • Wandering Earl February 22, 2013 at 1:47 pm - Reply

      Hey Sam – That is absolutely what happens to me as well…the longer I’m away each time, the more I start to miss some aspect of life in the US. Of course, I don’t miss it enough to actually move back!

  8. Tom February 17, 2013 at 3:37 pm - Reply

    I like most our social healthcare system (Belgium)

    • Wandering Earl February 18, 2013 at 1:56 pm - Reply

      Hey Tom – I wish I could say the same about my own country with that one.

  9. Mandy February 17, 2013 at 10:49 am - Reply

    Hi there! I recently came across your blog. Great question, and your description is spot-on! I would definitely rank southern hospitality high on my list, but then again it reminds me of home since I’m from Tennessee. Thanks for asking the question. I think this is something I’ll now ask myself every time I come home!

  10. rose February 14, 2013 at 1:10 pm - Reply

    That pretty much sums up what I love about Canada (although the medicare plan and gun control here are a big added plus as far as I’m concerned!). I love having easy access to all sorts of different cultures, through people, music, food, architecture… I miss it a lot when I’m away, but it took going away to really appreciate it in the first place!

    • Wandering Earl February 16, 2013 at 5:25 pm - Reply

      Hey Rose – I’m the same…it took me many years of being overseas before I appreciated things in the US. And I must say, that medicare and gun control are MAJOR bonuses!

  11. Rashelle February 13, 2013 at 10:28 pm - Reply

    I was thinking the very same thing when I got off the train last Saturday! Everyone who alighted the train were walking up the stairs to change platforms and/or exiting the train station and I remember thinking when I was looking around at everyone, “Wow, we are such a multicultural country!” I appreciate it a lot more now, it goes to show how much of an awesome place Australia is when you look around and notice how many people have come here to make it their home (my Mum, Dad & relatives included).

    I love our Eastern Coast, so many beautiful beaches and bays to visit. I live in Sydney and work in the eastern suburbs and there you have the famous Bondi Beach where you can enjoy the lovely Coastal walk all the way to Coogee beach. It is breathtaking and a great way to relax. Coogee beach is just down the road from my work but my favourite place to go for a swim is Gordon’s Bay in Clovelly, it’s bloody paradise. The water is crystal clear and calm, people go snorkelling and sunbathe on the rocks. It never gets packed out and it’s a cool, relaxing way to spend your lunch break.

    I love my city Sydney, the harbour view is stunning. I also love going for walks through the Botanical Gardens, visiting the NSW Art Gallery and then go light a candle for my Mum at St Mary’s Cathedral.

    I haven’t had Pancakes on The Rocks (at The Rocks) for a long time now or visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art, that’s something I’ll have to follow up when I get back from Mexico.

    To sum it up I love having the freedom of doing whatever I want, whenever I want. I am very fortunate to be able to visit these places and enjoy a moment of solitude.

    • Wandering Earl February 16, 2013 at 5:20 pm - Reply

      Hey Rashelle – It’s funny because every time I’m in Sydney and other parts of Australia, I have such a great time and I love the place. But then I start thinking, “I should stop coming back here so much and use my time to visit other parts of the world”. Of course, once I leave and am somewhere else, and especially upon reading things such as your comment, I’m more than ready to return once again!

  12. Katie Bell February 13, 2013 at 8:33 pm - Reply

    Hi Earl. What I miss most about New Zealand is the unique natural beauty, friendliness of the people, the quirky sense of humour and the amazing food. Auckland and Wellington are both multicultural cities offering myriad cuisines and world class coffee. Auckland also has the largest Pacific Islander population in the world and that culture has shaped the City in many ways. I am proud to be from a small country that stands up for what it believes in – first in the world to give women the vote, anti nukes and steering clear of the Iraq war among other things. To be a New Zealander you are a member of a small and exclusive club of only 4.4 million people 🙂

    • Wandering Earl February 16, 2013 at 5:18 pm - Reply

      Hey Katie – And quite an admirable club it is! I’m a huge NZ fan myself 🙂

  13. Wil @ Where's Wil February 12, 2013 at 8:28 pm - Reply

    My favorite things about the States includes all of the awesome sub cultures and the passport we get.

  14. Rhyma February 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm - Reply

    I’m from India and what I love the most is that its just such a Smorgasbord of culture. You’ve been her, you know it. I love living here. I lived in Kuwait for about the first 18 years of my life and I’ve been in India since. It may have its shortcomings but if you can look beyond that, you’ve struck gold!

    • Wandering Earl February 13, 2013 at 10:47 am - Reply

      Hey Rhyma – You are right…as many travelers say, every state of India is like a different country!

  15. Sarah Jo February 12, 2013 at 11:33 am - Reply

    I am from the U.S. I grew up in the Rockies of Colorado my whole life. And I agree with you Earl & so many other comments on here. The diversity, variations of landscapes and what I love about coming home is the knot in your stomach when you get back because you can just feel in your heart it’s HOME. Doesn’t have to be Colorado, it can be Florida, Texas, LA. I just love that overwhelming feeling. I especially love that in America it doesn’t matter what you look like, you’re never judged as an “outsider” since we are such an amazing melting pot. When I was I Asia this wasn’t always the case but of course cultures just vary from what people are used to. I haven’t been out East yet besides Ohio, that should be my next trip 😉

    • Doug February 13, 2013 at 3:28 am - Reply

      Ohio isn’t east. It’s in the Midwest. Do yourself a favor and visit New York, lynchpin of the country and the only part of America worth a damn. Anything west of the Hudson or south of Staten Island is a place to be avoided.

      • Kay @ Travel Bug Diary blog February 13, 2013 at 3:38 pm - Reply

        Au contraire. I live in New York City, and I think the West is the best part of the country. That’s where all the national parks are! New Orleans, Savannah, Charleston, the Smokies, Florida, and Virginia are all on my bucket list. I spend most of my time figuring out how to get out or New York. I like where I live, but there’s so much to explore outside Manhattan.

        • Doug February 15, 2013 at 4:01 pm - Reply

          Huh? There are national parks in New York and Pennsylvania a few hours from NYC. Out west might look nice in the sense of natural surroundings, unfortunately you have to deal with the people that live there.

          • Kay @ Travel Bug Diary blog February 21, 2013 at 7:41 am

            Within day trip distance from NYC, there are historical sites, monument, battlefields, and recreation areas managed by the National Park Service. The closest National Park to NYC is Acadia National Park in Maine – a 9 hour drive from NYC. I’m interested in early American and colonial history, and appreciate the historical site managed by the NPS in the Northeast, but the big national parks are high on my bucket list. I’ve a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park planned for the summer that I’m really looking forward to.

    • Wandering Earl February 13, 2013 at 10:39 am - Reply

      Hey Sarah Jo – That should be your next trip and I think you’ll discover that things are similar on that coast as well. I like how you said that we don’t judge others as ‘outsiders’ and that certainly is a result of growing up and living so closely with people of so many different cultures who all identify as being American.

  16. Jam @icoSnap February 12, 2013 at 10:32 am - Reply

    Diversity is definitely something I miss in the States. Especially the different variety of foods in one location.

  17. Rebecca February 12, 2013 at 10:25 am - Reply

    I’m from the UK, and the two things I love most about it are: the sense of humour (British humour is legendary) and the fact that you can drive not 30 minutes and be surrounded by a totally different accent, it’s so cool!

    • Wandering Earl February 13, 2013 at 10:40 am - Reply

      Hey Rebecca – You certainly do have some great sense of humour over there…I absolutely agree!

  18. Spinster February 12, 2013 at 8:30 am - Reply

    United States: The varying landscape. One can go from snow & mountains, to sun & beach, to city & country, and it’s all beautiful.

    • Wandering Earl February 13, 2013 at 10:41 am - Reply

      @Spinster – There is a little (or in some cases a lot) of everything here when it comes to landscapes. I myself haven’t spent too much time exploring the parks out west, something I’ve wanted to do for a while, just to see some more of the incredible diversity that exists.

  19. Joy (My Turkish Joys) February 12, 2013 at 7:59 am - Reply

    I’d have to agree with Ramona regarding the individual freedoms we have in the US. Since I’ve been living abroad the past 2.5 years in Turkey, I realize how much we take for granted in the US that other countries don’t have.

    And the first thing I notice when I get off the plane at JFK is the mix of languages and I’m also always a bit surprised to hear English being spoken everywhere. Yep, I’m back in the U.S. 🙂

    • Wandering Earl February 13, 2013 at 10:42 am - Reply

      Hey Joy – It does take spending some time overseas to realize how many freedoms we do have over here. And yes, the mix of languages always catches me too…just waiting in that immigration line it’s as if you’re in the United Nations waiting room, assuming they have a waiting room.

  20. Maggie Dodson February 12, 2013 at 6:57 am - Reply

    There are two cities in the world I consider ‘home’ and what I love about both is exactly what you describe, Earl. Most of the time I live in Britain, in London, in sarf London innit, to be precise. Recently I made a list of all the different cuisines I can access within walking distance of my home and discovered even to my astonishment that there are 21 of them. Who could be bored in a location like this!
    My other home is Melbourne Australia because I once lived there for many many years and although you must live in the heart of the city to access so many different cultures on foot there, too, is the same diversity of people, food and culture which can make every day in the city an adventure.
    As a young girl I dreamed of the exotic lands far far beyond the distant horizon and when I wasn’t looking the Melting Pot we sang about in the seventies quietly arrived and settled in, in both cities. For me this is the beauty of the big city and the time in which we are alive, we can live side by side with people of all races, creeds and colours, eat their food, listen to their music, wear their clothes……………. You could say it almost makes traveling superfluous although in the end I believe it promotes an even greater curiosity about the origins of people one comes into contact with.

    • Wandering Earl February 13, 2013 at 10:45 am - Reply

      Hey Maggie – Those are two great cities of course and Melbourne is one of my favorites as well, also because of the diversity present there. And I think that traveling also makes us appreciate the cultures that do exist in our homelands so that when we do return from our travels, we continue to take an interest in those around us and we want to continue to experience their cultures. Luckily, in places such as London, Melbourne and NYC, we don’t have to go very far to do so.

  21. William Staring February 12, 2013 at 3:10 am - Reply


    I like the wide open spaces and dark skies where I live in rural Australia. The thing I like about our cities is the cultural diversity….Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese, Italian, Greek, Islanders, Irish, Ethiopian, Sudanese, etc.

    • Wandering Earl February 13, 2013 at 10:37 am - Reply

      Hey William – Definitely things to appreciate…and I will never forget the time I spent in rural Australia, with its skies so full of stars, unlike any other sky I’ve witnessed in any other part of the world.

  22. This American Girl February 11, 2013 at 10:08 pm - Reply

    When I’m abroad I especially miss the diversity in food. Finding delicious Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Northern Italian, and Oaxacan restaurants all on one block?? Amazing. There seem to be Italian expats all over Central America but Asian food has been hard to come by in most places I’ve traveled to in Central/South America, Europe, and Africa. I guess it’s time to go to Asia!

    • Wandering Earl February 13, 2013 at 10:34 am - Reply

      @This American Girl – Or you could swing by the USA en route to somewhere else, just to fill up on good diverse food!

      • This American Girl February 15, 2013 at 7:45 pm - Reply

        Exactly what I’m doing now! Back in Seattle eating all the Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese, and Korean I want 🙂

        • Wandering Earl February 16, 2013 at 5:44 pm - Reply

          @This American Girl – Enjoy it all!!

  23. Mark Wiens February 11, 2013 at 10:00 pm - Reply

    That’s exactly what I like about the USA too, and with that incredible diversity comes a wealth of international food – that if you look in the right places can be quite authentic. In University I hung out mainly with East Africans, but also had friend’s from every continent (apart from Antarctica), and also in a span of a few days I could eat Somali, Kenyan, Ethiopian, Mexican, Chinese, and Korean food – all cooked by themselves!

    • Wandering Earl February 13, 2013 at 10:33 am - Reply

      Hey Mark – I knew your comment would eventually end up mentioning food. And now I can see what led to your extreme interest in food! But you’re absolutely right, you could enjoy a meal from every country on the planet without ever leaving the USA, something that is fascinating to realize.

  24. Teddy February 11, 2013 at 9:22 pm - Reply

    The opportunities, the personal freedom, and open-minded thinking!

    • Wandering Earl February 13, 2013 at 10:31 am - Reply

      Hey Teddy – Thanks for sharing!

  25. Stephen February 11, 2013 at 8:40 pm - Reply

    What I like best about my home country, the USA, is that the pursuit of happiness is alive and well.

    • Wandering Earl February 13, 2013 at 10:31 am - Reply

      Hey Stephen – Indeed it is.

  26. Patricia GW February 11, 2013 at 7:35 pm - Reply

    In America, I like best… the autumns in Michigan when the leaves change. It just makes your heart swell to see the golds, reds, and oranges of the cider mill orchards in twilight.

    • Wandering Earl February 13, 2013 at 10:31 am - Reply

      Hey Patricia – Well, if you put it like that, who wouldn’t enjoy autumn up there!

  27. Paul February 11, 2013 at 7:07 pm - Reply

    I agree with this article 100% Earl. Living in Australia, and when I lived in the UK, it was always something that really struck me about a lot of the other places that I’d travelled to – they were amazing but not really multicultural. Of course the USA is like this too, and without a doubt NYC and London are the two most diverse cities I’ve ever experienced. It adds a very unique flavour to a place and, in the overall scheme of the world, really is quite rare. I’d assume Canada is similar too from what I’ve heard, but can’t really think of any other countries that would offer multiculturalism on such a scale.

    Regarding the United States specifically (well at least NYC as I haven’t experienced the rest of the country), I’d say the friendliness of the people is a big positive. People were just consistently nice and always willing to help. It seemed to be a genuine thing, and I loved it.

    • Wandering Earl February 13, 2013 at 10:28 am - Reply

      Hey Paul – That’s great to hear about the friendliness and I do agree. You could basically go up to anyone here and they will help you out, at least in my experience and from what I’ve heard from many travelers. And as for the diversity, until I traveled extensively, I never had realized how rare it was on the planet…I never knew that only a handful of countries have such diversity among its people.

  28. Scott Donald February 11, 2013 at 6:09 pm - Reply

    I agree that multiculturalism is the biggest part of Australia I miss Australia. It is something I try to convey to my students and colleagues here in Japan, but sometimes I wonder if they get how truly important it is.

    • Wandering Earl February 13, 2013 at 10:26 am - Reply

      Hey Scott – I’m sure it’s very difficult to understand the importance of it all if you’re not surrounded by it all the time. You definitely need to experience the benefits first-hand for diversity to really seem wonderful I would think.

  29. Ramona February 11, 2013 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    So true, I found that in Arabia too. Had to teach my young students to stop saying “Give Me…” they didn’t understand that whole ‘magic word’ thing at all! I was in a very slow money exchange line in Tunisia yesterday. A French lady asked me if she could get in front of me because she had a plane to catch. I said of course. Then I watched as 4 other people one by one went up to the front of the line to try to jump ahead. Happily they were not allowed to. In the UAE it’s a common expectation that locals jump the line, ahead of expats/guest laborers…. but us Americans weren’t very accepting of that norm 🙂

    • M February 11, 2013 at 9:29 pm - Reply

      How cool that you are in Tunisia! I was there in the Peace Corps, in Hergla, near Sousse.
      I also loved what you said about freedoms and rights too. That is my answer for what I love about the USA. 😉

      • Ramona February 13, 2013 at 11:42 am - Reply

        Hi M, I did really enjoy my stay in Tunisia…despite the political protest demonstrations that were going on. I bet your Peace Corps time there was really interesting. I loved that many Tunisians spoke Arabic, French, English, German, Italian, and Spanish.

    • Wandering Earl February 13, 2013 at 10:25 am - Reply

      Hey Ramona – I can imagine…UAE has never been one of my favorite destinations, basically because of many aspects of life similar to what you described.

      • Ramona February 13, 2013 at 11:46 am - Reply

        Also Earl, it’s the only country I’ve ever lived in where I can’t say I really made a true local friendship. All my good friends there came from somewhere else. Unfortunately, most of the people I met really didn’t seem to practice the welcoming Arabic hospitality that I’d heard so much about.

        • Wandering Earl February 16, 2013 at 5:17 pm - Reply

          Hey Ramona – I’ve heard that from a lot of people who have lived in UAE as well. And I’ve traveled all around the Middle East and I have found that hospitality to be present just about everywhere else in the region!

  30. Chris Little February 11, 2013 at 5:25 pm - Reply

    I love not just the diversity in the people but in the land. Travel from Alaska, to California, to Texas, to Louisiana, to Maine or anywhere in between you will see a beautiful diverse land filled with diverse people. I think of adventure travel as international travel too but there is so much to see in the US. When I can’t get far far away I am always amazed by what there is to enjoy in our backyard.

    • Wandering Earl February 13, 2013 at 10:24 am - Reply

      Hey Chris – That’s very true. Just yesterday I flew from NYC to North Carolina to Florida and just in that short period of time, the differences in landscapes and overall culture was so clear. So much to see here for sure.

  31. Tamara February 11, 2013 at 4:53 pm - Reply

    I love the fact that Great Britain has such a rich tapestry of accents. Just a few miles in any direction and the accents can change dramatically. I love the countryside, villages with a green, the seasons and our (sometimes bizarre) traditions. Dancing round the maypole in spring, Auld Lang Syne at New Year…… and our history, so evident in all our old buildings.

    • Wandering Earl February 13, 2013 at 10:22 am - Reply

      Hey Tamara – I’m not sure there’s anywhere else on the planet with such a diversity of accents within such a small area!

  32. Kaylin February 11, 2013 at 4:22 pm - Reply

    Mine is sort of an addendum to yours, and that is the diversity of food options in America. I LOVE Mexican, Indian, and Thai food (just for starters), and they are pretty hard to come by in rural France where I live now. (Don’t get me wrong, I like French food too, but I don’t want to eat it ALL the time.) Even my tiny hometown in Alabama has decent Chinese, Japanese, and Mexican food options… All I’ve got in my town in France is kebabs.

    • Wandering Earl February 13, 2013 at 10:21 am - Reply

      Hey Kaylin – It definitely all ties together…diverse people lead to diverse options, especially with food. I guess as soon as you return home you’re going to run around town to all of your favorite eateries!

  33. Angela Goldstein February 11, 2013 at 4:19 pm - Reply

    What I love most about Brazil? The warmth. From both people and weather.

    • Wandering Earl February 13, 2013 at 10:20 am - Reply

      Hey Angela – You can’t go wrong with that.

  34. Forest Parks February 11, 2013 at 4:04 pm - Reply

    That’s funny because its the same answer I give about the Uk and specifically London where I grew up!

    I love New York City and all it’s neighbourhoods. It does have a feeling like no other city I have ever been to.

    So other things I love about the UK is that we are real mongrels, we don’t have indigenous culture as such (anymore) so we have this crazy and not always nice history of being conquered and conquering, that shows up in buildings and the feeling if just being in an old place. Oh and I miss a real British pub, something that just doesn’t seem to be able to be replicated!

    • Wandering Earl February 13, 2013 at 10:20 am - Reply

      Hey Forest – I’m sure you’re not the only one from your country who misses a real British pub while traveling!

  35. Steve C February 11, 2013 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    My first thought was “It’s a nice place to be from”. That’s when I’m traveling. But when I return from outside the country, I always marvel at what is available. I could take hours just wandering up and down the isles of the grocery store looking at all the stuff for sale, (even though most of it is junk!)

    • Wandering Earl February 13, 2013 at 10:08 am - Reply

      Hey Steve – And that can also be overwhelming at times! So many options of things that the rest of the world has no idea even exist!

  36. Kay (Travel Bug Diary) February 11, 2013 at 3:09 pm - Reply

    I agree. It’s the diversity. I’m American – I wasn’t born here, I immigrated as a young child. I adopted the USA, and the USA adopted me. I love to travel, but don’t feel like I could ever feel like I belong elsewhere.

    • Wandering Earl February 13, 2013 at 10:03 am - Reply

      Hey Kay – It’s great to see so many people who appreciate the diversity…and that diversity does help everyone feel so comfortable in this country.

  37. Linda February 11, 2013 at 2:53 pm - Reply

    I adore the US. It’s the only place I’ve ever been I really could happily stay forever. Perhaps for the reasons you mention. I realized only recently that it’s the reason I like where I live right now, the odd mix of people in this village, and what they bring to the vibe here.

    My son was brought up here in Spain, after that lived 7 years and the US and has now been in the UK for for around 3 years. He recently moved to London, and loves it there because of the diversity too. One thing he noticed, though, is that immigrants or first generation Americans think of themselves as American first and then whatever nationality they originate from; but in UK they seem to put their country of origin first, which I thought very interesting.

    • Wandering Earl February 13, 2013 at 10:07 am - Reply

      Hey Linda – That is interesting and I’ve also found the same to be true over the years. And I think that it’s great because it gives everyone in this country some common ground (everyone associated with being American) and it reduces the potential for letting our differences get in the way of living/working side by side and in harmony.

  38. Lu February 11, 2013 at 2:37 pm - Reply

    Im from Ireland and I love just how small it is. If I am in another country I wouldnt be surprised if I met someone related to someone i know or a good friend of mine. i was once waiting in a queue in spain and behind me was my retired geography teacher!

    • Wandering Earl February 13, 2013 at 10:02 am - Reply

      Hey Lu – I can only imagine what it must be like to have that happen all the time. Small countries definitely have their benefits and it must feel great to know that you are connected so closely to almost everyone.

  39. [email protected] February 11, 2013 at 2:35 pm - Reply

    I’ve been telling people the same thing. What I like about the US is the ethnic diversity, especially in the cities. E.g., take a city like Boston, you can find Latino neighborhoods and restaurants where you can eat the food and practice your Spanish, easily throw yourself into Brazilian culture, and have a vast array of Vietnamese, and Chinese food in Chinatown, to name just a few perks of the wonderful human mix that exists there.

    • Wandering Earl February 13, 2013 at 10:01 am - Reply

      Hey Mike – Being from Boston area myself, I always think about growing up and going to a high school and living in a town that had a good amount of diversity, especially for its size. So many cultures all living side by side and I feel real lucky to have had that experience as a youngster.

  40. Kacie Riann February 11, 2013 at 2:14 pm - Reply

    I love that in the USA, there is a general expectation of politeness. Obviously, there are a few bad apples, but for the most part we smile at strangers on the street, if we bump into someone we say “sorry” or “excuse me” and we ask nicely for things.

    I asked my host sister in Georgia how to say “please” and she said “I guess you could say ‘tu sheidzleba’, which is more like ‘if possible’ but I don’t think you will need it much,” and I swear I haven’t heard that phrase come out of anyone’s mouth but mine since. I also can’t tell you how many times I have been body checked without comment, and I have had to actively keep myself from smiling at people when I walk around, because they are suspicious of it. They always ask “ra ginda?” “What do you want?” if they catch me smiling.

    I have really learned to appreciate the simple courtesies in America like holding the door open for someone behind you or insisting that someone go ahead of you when they look visibly distressed in line for the bathroom. Cherish it Americans! (And any other nationality that values politeness.)

    Disclaimer: Georgians are very warm and hospitable people, they just have a different idea of how to communicate with strangers than my American upbringing prepared me for. PLEASE visit Georgia!

    • Wandering Earl February 13, 2013 at 10:00 am - Reply

      Hey Kacie – I guess I’ll have to interact with some Georgians myself when I get there in the relatively near future. Thanks for the tips 🙂

  41. Kia February 11, 2013 at 2:09 pm - Reply

    I like the fact that we have so many hours of daylight in summertime here in Finland (I wont comment the daylight in winter time…). And also that our school system offers young people a chance to get a very good degree that doesn’t cost us anything.

    I enjoy your blog Earl, and i think your lifestyle is really cool.

    • Wandering Earl February 13, 2013 at 9:59 am - Reply

      Hey Kia – And having such a school system is incredibly important of course, which leaves me surprised and saddened that so many other countries do not offer this type of education to their citizens.

  42. Iggy Pop Pbt February 11, 2013 at 2:02 pm - Reply

    You’re back to US? What happened to South Africa? We are waiting for the second part of your mom’s blog on Sout Africa, don’t forget please!

    • Wandering Earl February 13, 2013 at 9:49 am - Reply

      Hey Iggy – Don’t worry, the second part of the south africa trip will be posted tomorrow! I usually write a few days/one week behind the time when it actually happened 🙂

  43. Maria February 11, 2013 at 1:54 pm - Reply

    I hear you – I’d add choices. I love all the choices I have here in the US; political choices, religious choices, geographic, landscape, food, even accents and slang.

    • Wandering Earl February 13, 2013 at 9:51 am - Reply

      Hey Maria – Good call with the choices. Sometimes there are too many, but for the most part, it’s definitely a benefit 🙂

  44. Ramona February 11, 2013 at 1:34 pm - Reply

    Hi Earl, I’ve lived in the US, Germany, the UAE, and Turkey…. The thing I love most about the US is the huge range of individual freedoms & rights we have. Excercising some of those freedoms in certain communities can sometimes still be difficult, but at least they’re ‘on the books’ for us to fight for.

    • Wandering Earl February 13, 2013 at 9:52 am - Reply

      Hey Ramona – Well said and I think it is easy to forget how many freedoms do exist here and how easy it really is to do many things that in other countries would not be so effortless.

  45. Elisabeth Sowerbutts February 11, 2013 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    Because multiculturalism is what I miss about New Zealand when I’m away. I particularly like the vibe of the Pacific and how shoes are optional everywhere. Just so much more relaxed than most other countries.

    • Wandering Earl February 13, 2013 at 9:53 am - Reply

      Hey Elisabeth – Absolutely…shoes optional is my kind of place as well!

  46. Shalu Sharma February 11, 2013 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    USA is a great country. We Indians love it too. We have the American flag on our T shirts, caps and you name it. I think the best thing about my country India is its “food”. I love Indian food.

    • Kay (Travel Bug Diary) February 11, 2013 at 3:19 pm - Reply

      Indian is my favorite cuisine. I really want to visit India – for the culture and the delicious food.

      • Rhyma February 12, 2013 at 1:05 pm - Reply

        You should come to India! It is beautiful beyond belief, if you know where to go 😉

      • Wandering Earl February 13, 2013 at 10:07 am - Reply

        Hey Kay – I’ll be offering two tours to India later in the year if you’re interested 🙂

        • Kay @ Travel Bug Diary blog February 21, 2013 at 7:35 am - Reply

          Thanks, but India’s probably not in the cards this year. I did just book a ticket to Sri Lanka…. not India, but in the neighborhood.

    • Wandering Earl February 13, 2013 at 9:53 am - Reply

      Hey Shalu – I certainly won’t disagree about the Indian food!

      • Shalu Sharma February 21, 2013 at 3:45 am - Reply

        Hey Earl, that’s sounds great. I am glad you like Indian food. Kay, feel free to come to India. Best wishes to you.

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