My love for the States started back in 2011 when I did a San Francisco to New York road trip. This group tour was mainly a camping trip so this forced me to see the USA’s parks as well as its cities. I then returned to the States to party in New Orleans and attend the South By South West festival in Austin, Texas in 2015. We returned to Austin to get hitched in 2016 and also spent time in Seattle and Portland.
In 2018, Craig returned to SX, solo, then we went to space camp together in Huntsville, Alabama. In 2019, we celebrated our third wedding anniversary with a Texan road trip to Big Bend National Park.
So what keeps drawing me back to the USA? The weather? The food? The people? The politics (nah!) Let’s find out why I love the United States of America.
North American Friendliness
The North Americans (that I have met) are super friendly.
In San Francisco, a suspicious looking man who wore a leather jacket (it was warm) was leaning against a lamppost. He saw us (my friend, Sarah and I) 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 me, judging girls.
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.
» You may also like: 3-5 day San Fran itinerary guide
We met our friend, Pete from Miami, in Vietnam in 2013 and talked about music. We did a pinky promise to meet again at SX and that we did. Pete and his partner, Micayla, joined us at the festival. Not only this, they flew over to Scotland to come to our Scottish wedding party. As did Sarah, the woman who married us in Austin, Texas.
I know what you are thinking. So you like North Americans who have enough money to travel? True, we are drawn to fellow travel lovers but we’ve also friendly locals in every State we’ve visited.
North American Culture
I am aware that we are sheltered in Scotland when it comes to life in a melting pot but I enjoy learning about other people’s lives to the USA.
In San Fran, a waiter asked where we were from 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.
North American Food
Tex Mex and Tacos (Texas), Voodoo Donuts (Portland), brussels sprouts (Huntsville). These are few of my favourite things!
I ate Thai take-away four nights in a row in different states. The Dream! Healthy take-away every night. Here in Scotland, every Chinese meal has this gunky brown gravy through it.
I love that there are crackers with every type of seasoning 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.
» Here’s our 3 day Vegas guide + day trips
North American Landscape
Lush Yosemite in California, suffocating heat of Death Valley, built up cities by the sea like Seattle, sunsets over Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park.. I love how you can drive for an hour and be in a completely different world.
One of the most spectacular (and quite spiritual) activities I’ve done was watch the sun rise at Monument Valley, Utah, after sleeping under the stars (literally).
Monument Valley’s 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 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?