Known for being a nation of fast food, guns, and obesity, it can be difficult to see through the negative aspects to get to the heart of what makes America a beautiful place. By popular opinion, here’s a list of things that America does best when compared with other countries around the world.
1. Rest Stops on Highways
You’re driving on the highway when the grogginess suddenly hits you. You’re now in desperate need of some caffeine before you pass out. Thankfully, the U.S. comes equipped with fancy rest stops that appear frequently along the way. Boasting “clean” restrooms, coffee, snacks, sometimes even arts and crafts, and anything else you can and can’t think of, there’s certainly no arguing with that level of convenience.
Rest stops aren’t the only wonders of America. From the icy glaciers of Alaska to the humid tropics of Florida, most residents would agree that the U.S. has more to see than can be achieved in a lifetime. One resident even mentioned that “the Everglades represent a wholly unique ecosystem that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world.” The U.S.’s tourism industry owes its success largely due to its diversity of habitat.
3. National Parks
With as much geodiversity as previously mentioned, it’s no wonder that America’s national parks are the country’s best treasures. Other areas of Europe do have some scattered and well-manicured pieces of nature, though the natural parts have been far too touched by humanity to be considered as such. Other countries may have more parks in sheer numbers, but the advantage of geodiversity coupled with the ability to preserve its own natural beauty sits firmly with America. For starters, there’s Yellowstone, Yosemite, Arches, and Grand Canyon if you’re seeking an outdoor adventure.
Contrary to how it’s been described in the movie The Talented Mr. Ripley, jazz is not just “insolent noise.” To quote Fearne Calloway, “Jazz is chaos, and I don’t know how you can’t love it.” With its roots in New Orleans at the turn of the 20th century, this musical style took the country and the world by storm during “the Jazz Age,” which took place in the 1920s and has remained an inspiration for many popular songs created ever since.
The process of moving things from one place to another can best be described as a delicate art that the U.S. has perfected over time. One citizen notes, “It’s a big part of how we’ve won wars too.” Even for its impressively large land mass, the efficient transportation of goods has been a strong advantage in situations like disaster relief, military transit, and quick distribution of products throughout the country.
6. Supporting People with Disabilities
Yes, there’s still a long way to go, but the leaps and bounds made since the need for disability support was first recognized have been staggering. Talking sidewalks to signal safe passage to the visually impaired, hotel rooms specifically designed for the handicapped, and severe penalties for handicapped parking space violators – these are just a few examples of how the U.S. accommodates the disability community.
“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Everyone in the world knows about Neil Armstrong’s famous words after he walked onto the surface of the moon. Regarded as one of John F. Kennedy’s most innovative fundings, the first moon landing helped propel the U.S. as the leader of space exploration and paved the way for numerous inventions that we still rely on today. Even though all manned missions to the moon have long been suspended since the early 1970s, we now have NASA to thank for everyday items such as freeze-dried foods, cochlear implants, and memory foam.
8. Entertainment Industry
“If America were wiped off the Earth tomorrow, the biggest impactful loss would be media.” While media can be both harmful and entertaining, there’s no denying that the U.S. does it best. This stands true across the entire industry, from Hollywood movies and live theater to broadcasting and music. As a world traveler, I’ve personally witnessed the intense enthusiasm that many other cultures have for American entertainment like their love for Taylor Swift and all things Disney.
There’s nothing quite like the first time eating at an all-you-can-eat buffet in America. The sheer mountain of cheap and delicious options is enough to merit the experience, no matter how sick it might make you feel afterward. This type of gluttony is a classically common pastime that can even cater to different crowds. If you prefer to get fancy, head over to the Las Vegas strip for an expensive buffet dining experience. If not, then you can scrimp and save your money with a significantly cheaper trip to one of the many Americanized Chinese restaurants available on nearly every street corner.
10. Free Refills
What could be more American than an endless supply of diabetes in a cup? In most, if not all, European restaurants, the mere utterance of a soda refill is a dead giveaway that you’re an American tourist. France even went as far as to ban free refills in an effort to reduce the nation’s obesity rate. So, while free refills may be bad for your health, at least you can save a dollar or two on sugary drinks here in the U.S.
11. Free Public Restrooms
The very notion of having to pay to relieve yourself may seem ridiculous, but that’s how it is in many countries across the world. While a few places in America do require you to be a patron before using their facilities, most businesses and public areas give free access to restrooms for anyone who needs to use them – as they should. After all, it’s an inevitable bodily function that everyone has the urgency to do at one point or another.
12. American Football
While people can argue over the semantics of the term “football” by comparing it to the internationally acclaimed sport of soccer, one thing cannot be disputed: the U.S. is rightfully the reigning world champion of American football, the home sport. Apparently, the visual of a bunch of hefty men tackling each other to the ground on a large field to take hold of a strangely shaped ball is all it takes to get the crowds cheering.
13. Corn and Corn Products
Not to make anyone hungry, but have you ever had cornbread? If not, then you’re really missing out. Don’t forget cornflakes, cornmeal, and grits (a Southern food staple). Even candy corn, a favorite (or strongly disliked) Halloween icon, is generally made from corn syrup. In the U.S., you cannot escape the phenomena of “turning corn into things that are not corn,” as one resident described it.
10 Little Things That Feel American Outside of the USA
Have you ever traveled outside the States and encountered an establishment that transported you back to the States? For me, KFC in Iceland made me double-check my location. Someone asks an American online forum for “Things that feel American outside of America (USA). What are some things outside the states and territories that feel quintessentially American?”
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