Even though I am only 20 years old, I would call myself a seasoned traveler. I have traversed across the globe solo, with family, friends, and have ticked many sites off my bucket list. I have ventured from my homeland Australia, up to America, and as I try to think of the most memorable experience I’ve had there, it’s not a place that fills my mind and heart. It’s the people.
The hospitality of an American soul is one that makes me feel like I am at home, even when in reality I am thousands of miles away. It’s the open arms and the open heart that sparks a feeling of extreme comfort and familiarity, as the Americans I have come across have shown only friendship towards me.
I’ve met Americans in Berlin, in Thailand, in Rome. And I can spot them before even hearing the accent spill from their mouths. I spot them from their smile that captivates and makes me want to join in on their conversation. From their dance moves, that forced me to get up from my seat and bust a move. From the general positivity they exude and their desire to put 100% effort into any activity, from paddle boarding to pub-crawling.
As I celebrate my birthday, America celebrates her independence. And it is on this day that I feel unified with the United States. Although I have Australian blood, an element within me will always be connected to the US.
I fit the stereotypical tourist mould as I ventured to Disneyland when I was 12 and yes, I went on every single ride. Some twice. But what resonates is one ride in particular. In the California Adventure Park is a ride called “Soarin Over California.” This ride is comprised of hang gliders, which rise in the air and simulate a flying experience in front of a screen. The ride soars over various Californian landmarks, and I, at the tender age of 12, made a mental bucket list to visit each and every one. The sites include Redwood creek, Napa Valley, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park, Monterey, Anza Borrego desert state park, San Francisco and Malibu. I have succeeded in visiting the Golden Gate Bridge, but not for the last time.
Happy Independence Day, from an Australian citizen, with a slight American patriotism ingrained within her.