There are so many similarities between the UK and the US. This somehow makes the differences seem all the more prominent. Everything from the food, the cars, the homes, and even their weather is so foreign to those who have yet to experience it themselves, that it comes across like a younger, bolder sibling compared to Britain’s more reserved temperament.
Brits are exposed to masses of American media through television, films and the internet that sometimes it feels like we are one huge country divided by a bit of inconvenient water. On the other hand, the vast differences are precisely the reasons why so many Brits are drawn across the pond. Should you choose to join them and find out why our cultures are so intrinsically mixed, here’s what you need to know.
One: Forget Your Sense of Scale
It’s not just a myth – the US really does deliver when it comes to the ‘bigger’ out of ‘bigger and better’. Journalist Earle Hitchner astutely pointed out that “the difference between America and England is that Americans think one hundred years is a long time, while the English think one hundred miles is a long way”. English or not, every Brit can relate to this sentiment. If it’s a pain having to drive sixty miles to visit relatives down south, imagine the time and energy it will take to get from one side of an American state to the other. Don’t let this intimidate you – the sprawling landscape is there to be explored.
Two: Awaken Your Senses
Constantly comparing the food in the UK to that you’ll find in the US will only confuse your taste-buds. Throw yourself into the culture no matter how similar it might first appear to your own. Listen to the music, eat the food, feel the water. The comfort of speaking the same language as the majority of people in an otherwise hugely different culture will help you dive in at the deep end to get a proper American experience. Whether you’re interested in local histories, strange new shops, or the striking countryside, it is useful to do some research before you head off. For example, this Sonoma travel guide is perfect for wine-lovers visiting California. Track down these places online so you have a better idea of what to expect once you’re there. Your senses will enjoy the experience.
Three: Open Your Mind
Much like an older brother teases his younger sibling simply because they were born in different years, the UK has a peculiar love-hate relationship with the US. Although its media is widely consumed in Britain, which indicates that on some level it must be enjoyable, some Brits admit to a level of prejudice when it comes to the States. Leave this urge at home when you visit America, so you don’t interrupt an awe-inspiring road trip to the Grand Canyon with a remark about being surprised there isn’t a McDonald’s in one of the craters. You will be awe-inspired by this wonderful country and her people, so enjoy yourself, and prepare to be charmed.