Reasons to love USA

Why I Love the USA

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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.

Marshall Flight Center Huntsville

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

Food Austin Cisco Cafe East 6th Street_

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.

Final Words

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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          I get that. They are very expensive. We were shocked at the price of hostel dorm beds in Seattle too. It’s just not a cheap country to travel around but a lot of fun and so varied landscape wise!

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