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We Should Explore Our Own Country Before We Start Exploring Others.
Americans don't see enough of their own country, but they should see more of it before they start exploring Europe or China or somewhere like that!
 Andie47   30 Jul 2008 22:28
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It shouldn’t be startling to know that more people in the US don’t have a passport than actually do possess one. This suggests that either there is a lack of interest in foreign travel, or that the United States is such a treasure trove of exploration that people are staying home to discover the delights of their own country. Discovering your own country has many benefits and there are many ways to do it. Some friends of mine drove their motorcycles across each and every one of the US States, including Hawaii, that’s a great way to see the country. Of course, you could drive a motorcycle across Europe or travel by train on the Trans-Siberian railroad between Russia and China, which could be just as exciting.

Foreign Travel develops our sense of self, because we are challenged by the new and strange environment that we are made uncomfortable by. Foreign travel, exploring other countries teaches us about other cultures and languages. It is unlikely that anyone will seriously develop a language within the United States, they may pick up some Spanish, they may even study a language in university, but otherwise, they will speak only English. Even a week or two in a foreign country will acquaint the American traveller with the new language and often gives them an appreciation of elements of their own language.

Discovering a foreign culture often leads you to an understanding of other cultures. It is unlikely that you will have more than a rudimentary knowledge of European or Asian history, unless you’ve made a study of it in college. For this reason, travelling outwith the United States of America can open your eyes to new and interesting aspects of history. Why was the Great Wall of China built? Have far North did the Roman Empire stretch? Where did you ancestors come from and are there any records of them in the local parish or church records? All of this is available through travelling overseas, away from the USA.

Exploring new cultures means discovering new foods, imagine discovering that your favourite food was not McDs or BK, but actually a Japanese delicacy or a German sausage! Where else could you see a game of soccer so skilfully played but in the UK, Germany or Spain, where professional leagues thrive way beyond the reasonably small ‘soccer’ clubs of the US. The arts and entertainment may also throw new light on your own experience, there’s so much to be uncovered when travelling outside your own comfort zone and the USA often provides a comfort zone for resident travellers.

However, foreign travel, leaving the USA with its very weak and ailing dollar can be very costly. Flights and accommodation will be seriously expensive and this may prevent you from being able to travel far from home. In the USA, you can discover so many beautiful, cultural and historically rich places without ever getting on a plane. You can drive the entire nation (okay, but not Hawaii) or take your motorcycle across the States. Gas is still better priced in the USA than the UK for example, where a litre of petrol costs more than a gallon in the USA!

Discovering your own country means becoming aware of the rich variety of difference across the United States. Whether it is uncovering the history of the Civil War or the War of Independence, or visiting the capital Washington, and the Capitol building. If you live somewhere in the South, a trip to New York may be a fascinating experience for you culturally, as you can uncover how your ancestors came into the country through Ellis Island, or take in a Broadway show, which you may never get the opportunity in your own state. Of course, McD and BK are ever present across the USA (not to mention the world) but it’s still possible to find a little Mom and Pop diner in the middle of nowhere that serves a great Key Lime pie.

Exploring your own country means keeping your money within the US economy. It also means sharing the same language with your fellow travellers and citizens of the towns and cities that you visit. There will be few if any linguistic problems when a New Yorker and a Bostonian meet!

Until you discovered the beautiful, history and culture of your own country, there can seem little need to discover a far off land at considerable expense. This does not mean that you should not go, it simply means that you should consider holidaying domestically in order to benefit from the great variety of experience that exists within American itself. Even discovering the next State or the opposite coast can be an experience quite unlike any you’ve had before. This is particularly the case if you live within the centre of the country and you have never seen the ocean!
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