Map of USA – European view

I got a chuckle out of this Map by a US ex-pat (note: not TQE).  It was his diagram of how Europeans see the USA.  If it is a bit fuzzy, click on it to make it larger.

How Europeans see the USA

Often times when talking with people from European countries they speak to me about how worldly they are because they visit so many other countries and how Americans are not so worldly because we seldom leave the US.  I usually challenge them on the point that we don’t travel because they usually fail to realize how large the US is and that nearly the whole of Europe would fit inside of it.   They make the mistake of comparing the US one-to-one with each European country, at least on geographic size. 

Americans travel.  The difference is that our country is so large that to go from one political region to the next (a different state) is to travel a similar distance as traveling from one country to another in Europe.  Overly simplex, but generally that’s what I’ve observed.

So I will continue to educate my European friends about that.   While I think they still don’t consider Americans worldly, they begin to understand that to travel a vast distance we don’t have to leave our country where in Europe you will likely do so. 

I do concede and agree with them that more Americans should find a way to visit another country, just to realize that there is something out there other than the USA.  I look forward to doing more of that myself.

4 Responses to “Map of USA – European view”

  1. A few years ago my relatives here go tin touch with relatives in England. A visit was arranged here. The English relatives made us laugh but were serious when they sent their itinerary. I twas something like: Monday visit Washington D.C. , Disney World and New York City, Tuesday visit Mt. Rushmore, Grand Canyon and Hollywood. One day they planned to visit both Alaska and Hawaii. When told it was impossible they decided not to even visit. They said we should at least try to accommodate them. LOL.

  2. I’ve been pondering how to respond to your post — I think that whilst you are right about size, the one thing where travel within America fails, and fails hugely, is culture. No matter how Portland, Oregon, is from Portland, Maine, they both have McDonalds, Wal-Mart, and the other chains that are so common to the USA. They also have a common dominate language. Plus no matter how much we, as Americans, joke about the weirdness of the American South and its sweetened tea, overly religious folk, and accent–southerns are, at their core, Americans who have a quite similar culture to both of the Portlands.

    Whilst it is impossible for any European to travel that distance within their own country (save for Russians), distances within Europe cross many more cultural boundaries; and not just linguistically. Spain might be one country, but to think of them as one people is crazy: I’ve ignited fierce arguments by suggesting that Barcelona and Madrid are similar; yet suggesting LA and Atlanta are similar would never cause a 3 hour argument; and Spain is relatively big. Never mind Belgium where you need to know the name of the city you are visiting in two languages because the signs are going to change depending where you are in the country.

    Europeans are definitely at fault for viewing the US as east-coast, west-coast, and “fly-over”; but then again so are people who live in New York City and San Francisco.

  3. I think we both have excellent points.

    I think the view that “We’re worldly, and you’re not because we travel” is misleading. I say, “so what?” The cultures do change over realtively short distances in Europe, but they also change in short distances in the US. Just because there is a common language does not mean that things are the same all over. You can find those McDonalds, and other things spread out all over Europe too.

    You’d be hard pressed to tell me that the culture in Colorado or Wyoming is similar to that in Chicago, Washington DC, Atlanta, or New England. Even in California the culture is different from north to south. I’m a native Californian and I still get annoyed as hell being asked how close I lived to Los Angeles because apparently the rest of my fellow countrymen seem to forget that San Francisco is there too… That is until the Shrub is on the TV warning them about the perils of letting that “San Francisco liberal” be house speaker.

    People in the region I live now just don’t get that in culture and geography that California should really be two distinct states. Then again, so could Virginia for similar reasons. There are big cultural differences in the US. Why the heck do you think I want out of the location where I’m living so badly? I can’t stand it anymore because no matter how much I try to fit in, I never will.

    There are cultural differences in the US just as there are in Europe but the big difference is that you can usually get along anywhere in the US if you speak English, though I notice that is changing rapidly (Los Angeles, California’s central valley).

    Europeans mostly have the vast size of the US miscalculated and you and I agree on that point. I think that is why I laughed at the kindegarten style map posted.

  4. disenchanted Says:

    Florida should probably be two distinct states also — the scary red upper part and the nice blue “New York South” around Miami. 😉

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