I never say I’m from America.
There are a couple reasons for this.
A) America is so freaking huge that saying the country does very little to put you into scale.
B) America is a shameful nightmare of politics led by one of the most abominable human beings who the whole rest of the world recognizes as such.
C) I love California and it makes me happy to be from that particular state.
While hitchhiking the other day, I got picked up by a lady who had never left New Zealand, but she had traveled up and down it many times. She loved exploring her country and was in the process of traveling for the heck of it. I was pleasantly surprised by this. More often than not, people either travel far, or very little.
California is chock full of absolutely incredible places. We harbor deserts, cities, mountains, forests, beaches, fields, wet, dry, hot, cold, and people of all kinds of beautiful and heartbreaking backgrounds. We are also the sixth largest economy in the world. It is a privilege to live there. Where my family lives, they are an hour and a half from Sequoia National Park, two and a half from Yosemite National Park, and four hours from two of the most envied cities in the world. I tell Europeans, Australians, New Zealanders of where I have had the pleasure of living, and they are amazed.
A friend asked me not too long ago “Do you feel fully alive?”
“Well yeah. But I felt fully alive before I left.”
To be Californian means I am louder and more open than many I meet. It means my blue hair makes sense and my loud laugh is a bit more understood. I am able to relate numerous camping adventures to the crazy things I am currently doing and I encourage every kid who goes on those trips to enjoy and appreciate them. They are traveling. Camping is traveling. Moving is traveling. Being fully aware of the intense diversity of a state that is bigger than the whole of New Zealand, is traveling.
After all, for us Americans, a five hour drive is nothing.
(That can get some Europeans through 2 or 3 countries.)