For obvious reasons, traveling in Europe, the Caribbean or other exotic destinations are viewed as glamorous excursions. There’s nothing quite like seeing your friend in an Insta photo riding on an elephant, or that cliché photo of them touching the top of the Eiffel Tower. Having been raised predominantly in Europe and traveling throughout various countries, I came to adore the charming architecture and old world culture. When we moved back to the United States, all I could think about was the next time I’d get to travel to Europe.
But here’s the thing – I had no idea what I was missing out on by not growing up in the states.
The U.S. is huge. Traveling from one end of the country to the other isn’t an easy task, but the best part is that there are so many completely unique and different places to explore. This country is extremely topographically diverse — the landscape changes before your eyes just from traveling through one state.
This country is ideal for small road trips or month long sabbaticals. When I moved across the country, I had destinations that I planned to stop to, but half of the fun was breaking the plan and doing spur of the moment stays in areas I wouldn’t have planned to go to.
I’ve seen stunning mountain views, ancient historical landmarks and royal palaces all over the world, but right here in the U.S we have the most incredible naturally preserved habitats.
The National Parks in this country are unparalleled to many in the whole world. You can go miles hiking in Grand Teton without seeing a soul, finding crystal lakes, rivers, and majestic waterfalls instead. I find it hard-pressed to believe that many places, other than Yellowstone, allow you to see buffalo, a wolf catching its prey, grizzly bears, and moose all in one day. (I’m from Europe, so trust me on that.) And if you really want to see a geographical area that’s straight out of your imagination (or Star Wars), you need to go to the Death Valley in Nevada. The whole state of Utah might as well be a National Park with the wide range of natural beauty between Arches, the Canyons or Zion National Parks.
I thought it was cool to see sights like Pompeii and the Roman ruins, and don’t get me wrong; they are powerful sights to behold. But there’s something about climbing through Indian cliff dwellings right here in the great old USA. It’s one thing to learn about an indigenous tribe in a history book and a whole other thing to touch where they would have called home. With over 18 pueblos located just outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico, there’s no reason not to explore these ancient tribes and revel in the history.
Get your spice on and experience the Deep South in New Orleans by immersing yourself in the richness of the town. If you’re seeking relaxed vibes with a little bit of nature thrown in, Seattle’s your destination, and they’ll make sure you’re properly caffeinated. With major attractions like New York City, D.C. and L.A., there are tons to choose from in terms of getting your city fix.
Hop on a plane or get in your car and go. Go explore this great nation and land upon a new town you didn’t even know existed. You’ll never know what’s out there until you explore. With so many different culturally diverse cities, I guarantee you’ll find your kind of nirvana here.