Born In The USA!
Well, I'm finally returning to the U.S.!
I learned a lot on my European adventure, mostly about the different countries I was staying in. (Did you know that the man who invented the Rubik’s Cube was born in Budapest, Hungary?) But I also learned some other useful things.
1. Technology is awesome.
I was worried that being in other countries for three months would make me homesick. But thanks to email and Skype, my friends and family were always a few clicks away. I could even look up restaurant reviews, museum admission fees, and other helpful information, while Google Maps made looking up walking routes really easy. Though sometimes I would purposefully not use these tools to make my trip more adventurous, it was always a comfort that they were options.
2. American culture impacts the rest of the world in a much larger way than I ever imagined.
There's another reason I never got homesick on my trip. Italy, France, and especially Hungary were all very different than America. They all have their unique ways of dressing, living, and eating. Yet, one thing I noticed that they all have in common is their appreciation of American culture. In Florence, I frequently noticed street vendors selling t-shirts with The Simpsons or James Dean on them. In Paris, every time I took a trip to the grocery store, I heard Fun's song "We Are Young" and other American jams. In Budapest, I saw stores like "New York" that sold American-inspired fashion. We Americans often consider ourselves a melting pot of other cultures, but I think because of this, the things we create become accessible universally.
3. I can live without peanut butter.
But I don't like having to. In America, you can go to a grocery store and choose between innumerable different kinds of peanut butter: creamy or crunchy, Jiffy or organic, roasted or raw. You can even buy it swirled with chocolate! But, despite my best efforts, I never found a single jar of it in Europe. There the spread of choice seems to be Nutella, which is delicious. But sometimes I just wanted a good, old-fashioned PB and J sandwich.
Travelling is awesome for obvious reasons: exploring new places, meeting new people, experiencing different cultures. But it also makes you appreciate little things, like certain conveniences of home. I love travel, but now I am excited to be back, so I can use this new appreciation to enjoy my simpler life in America and eat a lot of peanut butter.