Reasons to love USA

Why I Love the USA

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It’s a big country, I know. I recently read an article and it described why the author loved the UK, it riled me up a bit (mainly because the article read ‘why she loved London’, not the UK, standard) so I mean no offence to Americans with the following. But, here is why, I love (the one month I spent in) United States of America.

I spent one month in the USA in 2011 (three weeks camping as part of a group with Intrepid, organised through STA Travel then one week hostel hopping as a solo female traveller, Craig wasn’t on the scene at this point) and it was the most consistently positive i’d felt in a long time. Some may say it was because I was on holiday for one month with minimal rain (Scottish summers can suck) which is a fair comment.

I love America

Team America – Where dem girls at?

It’s an unusual love as I am morally against many things some Americans support – the death penalty, anti-abortion laws, extremist religious views and of course guns.

I love AmericaPoint taken NOLA

Us Scots just don’t get the gun thing. Yes, Glasgow was the murder capital of Europe but I was never once put in the position of being threatened with a knife (thankfully) when I lived there. I did get my ass felt up from a lad trying steal a tenner from my back pocket (win-win?!) but that was the extent of my experience with crime (bar a house break in but that was my stupid flat mate’s fault).

American Friendliness

Americans (that I met) were so friendly. Friends who have not had the pleasure say that it must be annoying, I didn’t think it was. In San Francisco, a suspicious looking man who wore a leather jacket (it was warm) was leaning against a lamppost, he saw us with our maps out and asked if we needed help. We reluctantly asked for walking directions to the pier for Alcatraz. He replied, there’s a lovely route taking you through Chinatown and the Italian Quarter – slap on the wrist for Sarah and I, judging girls.

I love AmericaViews of San Fran from Alcatraz

I hired a bike in San Fran and pedalled about the streets, I swear people were smiling at me – this would never happen to cyclists in Scotland! I never carried my backpack myself downstairs/upstairs on the underground (NYC included, male naturally and also Boston, female this time, just wanting the chat). After arriving in Chicago after a long bumpy delayed landing, I met my new friend, Cory. He had just finished work at the airport and helped me out with the trains. We instantly hit it off; he loved random Scottish bands like Orange Juice and suggested I tried out the Wicker Park area for indie bars, such a cool spot that I would never have found without his advice. We are still pals now.

I love AmericaWicker Park – Thanks Cory!

American Culture

I am aware that we are sheltered on what life is really like in a melting pot but I enjoyed learning about other people’s travels to the USA. Again in San Fran, a waiter asked where we were from (I think it’s my accent) and chatted away. He was a trained architect from the Philippines but made more money waiting on tourists like me. There is hate too though. In a Brooklyn, NYC bar, a guy referred to a punter I was chatting to as a ‘monkey’, I was taken aback and moved away from the situation. Not cool.

I love America

Booze in a brown paper bag

American Food

I ate Thai take away four nights in a row in different states. The Dream! Healthy take away – here in Scotland every Chinese meal has this gunky brown gravy through it. I love that there are crackers with every type of flavouring possible. I still fantasise about the beer cocktail, burger and sweet potato fries from Strip Burger in Las Vegas. And s’mores over the campfire were comforting. Now it’s no secret, I did not love Vegas. I expected it sparkle and for me, it was just a bit sad. We were patronised at a rooftop bar, don’t (can’t, actually got the money stuck in the machine) gamble, and don’t shop on holiday usually. However, I do wish we had the chance to hit the highs of the Stratosphere ride, I freaking love thrills, and I still dream of that burger.

Read more: We got married in Austin!

I love AmericaFries before guys

American Landscape

As the tour started in the West Coast (San Fran), worked its way south and concluded in the East (NYC) I experienced lots of landscapes. We hiked in Yosemite, California. I’m definitely keen on exploring more of CA, check out this guide to unmissable California. Maybe when we move to Canada on a permanent basis!

I love America

I saw a double rainbow!

We sunbathed on snow on the hills in California (this was the first sighting of snow, ever, for the Australian on the tour).

I love America

I was suffocated in the heat at Death Valley (there’s a hotel there! Whaaaaat?)

I love AmericaIt was too hot to eat our picnic

We saw the sun set over the Grand Canyon. Check out more stunning pictures of Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park.

I love America

And the sun rise at Monument Valley, Utah, after sleeping under the stars (literally). This is still one of the moments in life I talk about nearly a decade later. The landscape is literally out of this world and space films have been filmed here as well as westerns which is no surprise. Utah actually has 13 parks including Zion National Park, so you could spend your full holiday in that one state travelling around and soaking up the indoors.

I love America

I ate ice cream by the ‘lake’ (according to the Aussie boys) in Chicago with skyscrapers lining the city behind me.

I love America

City with a beach – perfect

I don’t think too poorly of Americans when people bring up the statistic that only ‘10%’ of Americans own a passport (it’s actually 35%), each state is like a different country and there are many Europeans who have only seen Europe. Although I meet many Americans who would love to come to Scotland to meet their uncle’s gran’s cousin who is Scottish…

Into trips? Why not check out this Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip?

Do you love the U.S too?

Gemma and Craig are full-time workers with a life-long travel habit. Flirting with 30 and let loose on the world! Gemma writes, Craig looks good in the photos.

Comments 14

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  1. Politically and economically there are tons of problems. But geographically, we totally lucked out! There’s a little bit of everything and it’s so big. That’s what I think is great about the States.

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  2. Yaaay! As an American it’s refreshing to read a list of positive things about my country 😀 Especially one that contains “food” on it. I LOVE the food in America — like you said, healthy take out, yes please! I just feel like there’s so much variety and so many options that I miss living in Germany. I’m shocked (and saddened!) when people come back from America complaining that the food was horrible. I’m always like, where did you eat?!!!!

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      British take aways are all leave you with grease sodden lips! My American tour guide came for a visit to the UK and was like ‘what do you guys eat here!’ Heading back your way in 58 days…

  3. Thank you for speaking to some of the positives of this country! We’re not perfect, by far, (but who is right?) but it is a hugely varied country that seems like tons of little countries in place of states. I’ve lived everywhere from NYC to California to the most rural little place and small towns in Virginia, (and traveled the states greatly) and none of these places is like the other. Thank you for the understanding in why tons of Americans do not have passports. I could not get over my wanderlust to visit other countries, but I have been privileged in my life, whereas I know some friends from my hometown who are eager for the chance to even visit Florida (hundreds of miles away and expensive in a sense, but cheaper than a flight overseas.) I love seeing these places from others’ perspectives!

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      Emily, such bizarre timing! We’ve just flown from Orlando to Nicaragua and I thought to myself, I wonder how many kids in Florida get to the theme parks! Adding another reason I love America – Portland! Spent four nights there last week and had a ball.

  4. “It’s unusual as I’m against some things Americans support-the death penalty, anti-abortion laws, extremist religious views and of course guns.”

    Well, there are certainly people in Scotland or Europe that are against pregnancy termination and have extremist religious views though Europe’s extremist religious views are from Muslims and there is a lot more religious extremism in Europe than in America. No religion in America requires women to cover head to toe like in Europe. In America, pregnancy termination is a legal and constitutional right. When it comes to guns, most of the violence occurs from criminals who get guns illegally and are involved in gang or drug activity and is concentrated among certain ethnic groups. Americans who are law abiding want guns for either hunting, which I don’t like or to protect should a burglar or someone break in. While we may have the death penalty, which I support in certain circumstance, a lot of Americans are against Europe’s leniency on violent crime.

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      Thanks for reading Karen. In Scotland the majority of our police don’t actually carry guns and most violent crime will never be experienced by the masses, our Scottish government hasn’t used force as far back as I can remember. We really just do not understand gun culture and hate to see yet another neighbourhood (as we talk just now in Florida), school (we had one experience of this in the 90s, horrific), cinema, workplace, church or club come under fire. Find it a bit bizarre that you’ve picked up the areas that I don’t agree with when the full article discusses what I adore about the States. The majority of my North American friends have the same thoughts on these issues as me, both good and bad, hence why we have aligned. I hope you have enjoyed the rest of our USA content.

  5. Gemma; i’m due to visit America in September (as part of a longer trip through central america and south) and i’ve looked at a Trek America tour. However, it’s expensive. Could you advise on the pros and cons of one versus working my way across the country solo?

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      Sure! I did travel solo from NYC to Boston (bus) then Chicago (flight). Craig and I then did a trip from Vancouver to Seattle then Portland (bus) to Orlando (flight). On another trip we went from JFK to New Orleans to Austin by flying.

      Pros of group tours
      1. Ready made friends
      2. You don’t have to think about anything after you get there
      3. Campsites are out of the way so you will need a car, group tours provide a driver

      1. Expense
      2. Lack of flexibility itinerary wise

      Hostels are really expensive in the U.S by the way and trains aren’t an effective mode of transport like they are in Europe.

      Hope this helps. Have fun whatever you choose!

      1. Thanks, that’s useful. It’s part of a 6 month trip I plan to take through the americas so the big outlay on a tour just for 3 weeks is not very desirable, although having it made so easy is a big appeal. Perhaps i’ll keep my eyes on the tour costs and also price up the alternative as if there is a big saving to be made then the inconvenience might just win out. Thanks!

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