Back in the mid-aughts, I was part of an exchange program that took a few lucky Americans on a trip to Japan for a few incredible weeks. It was a little nerve-wracking to think about traveling in a country where I couldn’t read or speak the language, but to my surprise, it was incredibly easy to get around, and to ask for help (in English) with my timid voice. It seemed most people could speak English, and were excited to learn about where I was from in America. While there was anti-Bush graffiti and wheat paste art across the cities I visited, it seems most people were pretty fond of Americans, and extra fond of New Yorkers.
While I didn’t think I stick out any more than other caucasian people, the excited girls we went to school with told us that as Americans, we were flirtier and, ahem, «thiccer,» than other people of the caucasian persuasion. As a teen with some insecurity issues, I didn’t love this, but they made up for it by complimenting my eyelashes and boobs.
While I haven’t really traveled anywhere quite as exciting as Tokyo in the last couple of decades, I do find myself wondering if my American-ness is obvious when I’m traveling abroad. Recently, a Reddit thread shared all the tell-tale signs that travelers hail from the US of A, and if they’re accurate, well, I’ve got American written all over me. According to the responses, people from this country really love asking how people are, and people from other parts of the world find that to be odd and maybe even insincere. The whole thread is pretty entertaining and insightful, and will definitely be making an impact on how much I lean while traveling outside of the country.