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10 Things Americans Miss Most When Traveling Abroad

10. American Football

Everyone in America loves football. Either they love to watch football, or they love the smug sense of self-righteousness they get from not watching football. Football brings us together, either in celebration or loathing, in ways that nothing else can. When you're away, you miss sitting around with a beer and watching (or pointedly ignoring) mountains of muscle collide into each other until they all have concussions.

9. Fried Food

Sure, you can get fish and chips in some places, but seriously, Americans fry everything. Especially in the South. Chicken? Fried. Turkey? Deep fried, in some blessed households on Thanksgiving. Bread? Fried. (We love our donuts.) There are even places where you can go get burgers made out of donuts, and then the whole thing is fried. That's to say nothing of carnival food which is on another level by itself. Get your head in the game, rest of the world. Anyone who's traveled would gladly bring the metric system home with them if you'd just meet us halfway on the frying.

8. Being Able to Travel Nearby Without a Passport

Yes, there are other places that are comparable or even bigger, but there aren't many. Our settlements were founded by explorers, and most of our city planning was accomplished after cars were already invented. That's why our cities sprawl out all over the place. We're used to traveling! We're just not prepared to drive across four countries with four different languages during a day trip.

7. Not Being Surrounded By Ancient Ruins

From the Silk Road to 800-year-old schools that still teach students, other continents are full of buildings that have stood for centuries, sometimes more than centuries. And it's important to have those things. They remind you how short life is and how small we are in the big picture of things. They give you perspective. But to paraphrase David St. Hubbins, you can have too much perspective. We're an anxious people, and as much as we can appreciate being surrounded by history, it's nice that we can also run away from it when needed.

6. Recognizable Candy

The U.K., in particular, is a treasure trove of Cadbury goodness, and Greece's baklava is delicious enough to put you off of chocolate for good. Americans, however, use candy to cope with stressful situations: things like "being in a country where nothing is familiar." And when that's the case, even the candy is unfamiliar.

5. YouTube

Did you know that just about everything on YouTube is region-locked? Just like you can't put a Japanese DVD in an American player and expect things to work out, you're going to see a lot of "Unfortunately, this video is not available in your country." And then the friends you made at the pub are going to have to take your word on how great Rick & Morty is because you can't show them clips.

4. Conversations with Strangers

This makes Americans a little easier to spot, but it's one of the things we do right. There's a whole world full of amazing, interesting people who are teeming with ideas of their own. Who wouldn't want to rush out into the world and talk to as many people as possible?

3. American Manners

It's not just conversations that we miss. It's the little pleasantries that start to add up. Americans miss amiable exchanges in the grocery store checkout line or strangers encouraging us on a bad day with a friendly round of applause.

2. Elbow Room

Like we mentioned before, Americans live in a country with a lot of space. From our population density to our homes, we're not used to tight quarters. And despite our penchant for hugging people we just met, we do actually value our personal space, especially when we haven't had it for awhile. Americans typically can't deal with crowded trains or capsule hotels.

1. Food From the Melting Pot

From American innovations like barbeque to a culture where you can eat Chinese, Mexican, and Italian food on the same city block, America's celebrated food diversity is a strong spot. Do we Americanize foreign cuisine? Absolutely. But that just creates even more diversity as authentic places open up alongside the deviant ones. All of that food is beautiful and makes us proud to be Americans.

(image via jimg944, CC)