1. America has great internet
The internet is flipping fast here and you can use it for pretty much everything from emailing questions to your doctor, making an appointment for a haircut or waxing, booking your car for a service, or ordering a pizza. I can hear you all going “but I can order a pizza online in Australia!” and to that I say pffft. I tried that at Crust once. They didn’t see my order come in apparently. If I’m honest, I don’t enjoy picking up the phone and talking to people. If you call me, I’m going to let it go to voicemail. So this whole way of interacting with people without actually speaking to them is marvelous for me. Plus, I hear Al Gore invented the internet, and he’s American.
Apart from that it’s not prohibitively expensive and it brings the world a whole lot closer to you. Do you even know how much easier it is to shop online, as opposed to running to different shopping centres or stores to find that one thing you need? No parking, no traffic, no spent patience. Suffice to say that my life in America has definitely taken a turn for the better since I discovered internet shopping here along with free shipping and the other perks that go along with it. Now keep in mind that internet shopping doesn’t have to mean buying from the behemouth that is Amazon (and others) exclusively. I do my best to buy from smaller retailers as well.
2. American motorways are massive
|Isn’t it just beautiful?|
As much as I complain about driving here, I do love the motorways. They’re four or five lanes at their narrowest, which is to deal with the insane amount of traffic that drives on roads here each day. The overpass exits are these magnificent swirling feats of concrete mixed with the sweat of engineers that give you a feeling of awe. Although American motorways are highly confusing to someone who is used to driving on a three-lane road, you have to admit, they are magnificent-looking. Despite the fact that no one (in Califorina) has ever used a blinker in their entire existance on the planet and it will totally drive you nuts if you pay too much attention, so don’t. Your life in America will be so much better for it.
3. America has beautiful hiking trails
|Now that’s what I call a path.|
There’s a possibility that this is one of those things confined to the west coast, or even just some parts of the US. Hiking routes are fairly well-maintained here, they cater for a range of experience and fitness levels and are very well sign posted. I’m coming off a low base though. The majority of my time spent hiking was in NSW’s Blue Mountains, where I expended more time quizzically staring at guidebooks to work out whether I should be taking the right or left fork in the “path”, and getting lost. And the US has some amazing through-hikes like the Pacific Crest Trail and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.
Since moving to California, I’ve done lots of hikes including in Yosemite National Park, Muir Woods, and all over the Bay Area. We’ve gone camping quite a few times and been able to enjoy the organised nature of booking a campsite, and knowing that when we arrive, there will be somewhere for us to sleep that night. It makes things a little less stressful and so much easier to disconnect from technology and just enjoy the great outdoors.
Related: 5 Great San Francisco Hikes
4. The beaches are truly gorgeous
|There is no way that you know a better beach than Maui’s. Give up now.|
Technically, Maui is part of the US, hence I’m calling out the beaches. I used to say the beaches in Nice, France were my favourites. But then Maui came along, snatched the trophy, put a little grass skirt on it and used it as a prop to distract you while it pretended to dance the hula. My usual aversion to beaches comes down to these factors: the water is full of jellyfish and other nasty things, pollution floating everywhere and sand gets in your everything. Maui blasts two out of three of those: the water is crystal clear, it’s warm, it’s calm, AND you get to swim with fish and turtles! And the sand makes for some good castles, so I can forgive it.
Related: Top 55 things to do in Maui
5. Food comes in trucks and it’s delish
|Do yourself a favour, PhnomNom is delicious.|
6. America offers drive-through ATMs.
I’m not sure that my bank offers these but I’ve seen plenty of them around and they look so convenient. They appeal to my laziness. If being able to drive up to the ATM and take some money out doesn’t seem like something that would make your life easier, I don’t know what to tell you.
Right brain: “But then I’d have to find a parking spot, get out of the car and walk to the ATM. Don’t you realise how much energy that would entail? Efk that!”
Left brain: “Shut up, idiot.”
Related: Opening a bank account
7. 24-hour groceries & medicine
If I ever find myself craving pasta or ice cream at 3am, there is a 24-hour supermarket within walking distance of my apartment. And a 24-hour chemist (sorry, pharmacy) down the road. Keep in mind that I’ve never actually needed these things, but if I ever find myself in a predicament them, they’re right there! All the time! This may contribute to a marked increase in the number of midnight snacks I consume, and thus, the amount of weight I gain. However, I think it’s worth it for the convenience.
Related: An expat’s guide to US stores
8. Sephen Colbert and Jon Oliver
|Picture courtesy of Comedy Central.|
Sure there’s a metric tonne of crazy happening in this country. From federal elections, to adult illiteracy, to crumbling infrastructure, and not forgetting staggering health-related problems (Did you know that more than 190,000 people died from painkiller overdoses in the US since 1999?), when stuff goes downhill it plummets. But then there are people like Colbert and Oliver (and Jon Stewart before them) who not only explain to people why they’re being duped, but they do it in an entertaining way. Knowledge is power and all that…
9. Mail on Saturdays
|Mail box visits every day!|