PSA from an American Backpacker

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PSA from an American Backpacker

I am five months “vetted” into the backpackers’ community now and I’ve learned a few things- some life changing and some just plain hysterical.  A concept I’ve come to fully grasp as of late is the view other countries have of us “Americana.”
There are a few lines you’re going to hear over and over and over again as an American traveler in today’s world.The image the world has made up of Americans is full of cliches and over generalizations- some based on merit and others…not so much.  
I’ve been hit with it all.  
At first you’ll respond earnest and honestly, then you’ll just start to laugh like I do- and maybe come up with a few smart ass lines (like the ones below).
So here is my “Public Service Announcement” to all of you non-American travelers out there: 

Yes!  We DO know you have gap year in your country.  Color me jealous.   
Oh and free health insurance too…Awesome!  
And NO, we don’t actually think Trump will win the presidency. 
Yes, we realize we speak in louder volumes than you.  But to be fair, have you heard the Brits and Aussies?  I mean come on!  
And no, you’re right.  We don’t have free education.   (What’s funny is those same people say they want to come travel in America to go to school.  Say what?!)
Yes I have an iPhone. No I didn’t pay as much as you for it.  #SorryNotSorry
No, I don’t know why we use inches, feet and miles instead of meters and kilometers.  I don’t make the rules! 

Even more fun lies within the mundane daily conversations.  Everywhere you go people ask where you’re from.  Standard.  Then you respond “America,” and they say with an excited hand gesture “Oh!! OBAMA!!” Or, “What do you think about those gun laws?” 
To all the travelers (not from the USA) I’ve met and conversed with: thank you for teaching me how the world sees us and all the cliches that come with it.  
And to my American traveler friends or soon to be travelers: get ready to debate all the topics your mother told you never to discuss over dinner.  
Some of my favorite moments have been when I’ve surprised people from other countries- showing them I’m not what they think I am.  Proving a generalization or stereotype wrong comes with endless satisfaction.  
My motto: Be different.  Be unexpected.  And always continue to listen and learn.  
Ps.  Sorry I don’t have a picture of myself waving an American flag, because we don’t actually carry those things around.  

By |2016-01-13T05:20:37+00:00January 13th, 2016|Solo Female Travel, Travel hacks|0 Comments

About the Author:

On August 14th, 2015 I left my life in the United States behind with the intention to never look back. I had the "American Dream" and I woke up from it, to create a new reality for myself. I sought out beauty in a world that was increasingly dark for me at the time and ended up finding more than I bargained for. With only a backpack, I traveled across Europe, South East Asia and then on to Africa. With over 30 countries stamped in my passport, I've become an entirely new version of myself with a broader perspective on what it means to be a woman in today's world. My hope is that by sharing my stories and featuring women like me from around the world, we can inspire others to break down their own internal barriers and go cross a few international borders while they're at it. I truly believe travel can be healing to a troubled soul, empowering to the lost and rejuvenating for the exhausted. Perspective is everything, and I believe in the power of "going global," what about you? is a site that started out with my stories and grew into a platform for women all around the world to tell their travel tales of trials and triumph. We all believe that the more you see of the world, the better you can be as a person who inhabits it. Women encouraging other women to grow, travel, evolve- that's what SGG is all about. ---> Read my very first blog post (see "Archives" for August 2015) to learn how this all began.

No Comments

  1. rayvin January 13, 2016 at 8:47 pm - Reply

    Oh…just wait to my super political ass comes over there!! This little redneck cajun can town down on some political topics. I might be more excited about that then the buckets of booze…i said “might” lol

  2. Jenn January 15, 2016 at 7:54 pm - Reply

    AH! LOL This whole post made me smile but “Ps. Sorry I don’t have a picture of myself waving an American flag, because we don’t actually carry those things around. ” nearly made me spit out my coffee! WHA?

  3. parentingpatch January 15, 2016 at 11:25 pm - Reply

    Interesting post to read. I really like your motto of “Be different. Be unexpected. And always continue to listen and learn.”

  4. Noreen Kompanik January 16, 2016 at 4:06 pm - Reply

    Great site & fascinating articles!

  5. ROFL too funny. Can you imagine if we all carried bandana sized American flags. 🙂

  6. fox (@fox_emm) January 17, 2016 at 8:36 am - Reply

    This is really interesting. I have yet to travel abroad but have made several international friends online. If ever I travel out of the states I might have to refresh my memory on the content of your PSA. 😉

  7. Pops January 20, 2016 at 2:19 am - Reply

    Haha this is great! I worked in America (I’m from England) and definitely had so many stereotypes of Americans before I got there! I get a bunch of stereotypes being from England too! I always get asked if I know the queen….great joke!

  8. Sue January 20, 2016 at 11:13 pm - Reply

    my first time visiting your site. very interesting take thanks for the information about how they perceive Americans. but sadly Trump could actually win or get close it is looking like.

  9. Amber Hanne January 25, 2016 at 10:03 pm - Reply

    Haha, I loved reading this! I’m from Canada and have dealt with some really weird snow questions, yet I don’t get much snow in my area!

  10. Amy Butler (@WayfarersBook) February 12, 2016 at 4:46 pm - Reply

    Ah, this is so spot on! I’ve been traveling through Mexico for three weeks now and it’s so funny the repeat questions I run into. I also have to run through the “I’m from New York. Yes New York City” response so many times.
    One of my traveling friends and I thought up alternative opening questions because we got tired of the same ten minutes of small talk. His was “What are your feelings on pineapple” and mine was “Robots — good or bad?” It led to a lot more fun conversations.

  11. The Bohemian Diaries February 12, 2016 at 7:35 pm - Reply

    I have gotten many of the same questions over the years but one I always think is hilarious is, “are you obsessed with peanut butter like all the other Americans, too?” hahahaha

  12. josephbautista February 14, 2016 at 8:46 am - Reply

    “Yes! We DO know you have gap year in your country. Color me jealous.”
    Neither in Spain!! I know that feeling
    Stereotypes, we carry them from our home country to the whole World…. Even when it’s all wrong

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