One of the strangest sensations when traveling abroad as an American is the heightened sense of your American-ness. That I’m-from-anywhere accent you picked up from ’90s sitcoms becomes an invitation for people to guess where you’re from. Texas? California? When all else fails, and you don’t want to explain where Oklahoma City is, just claim to be from Miami, then watch your new friends’ eyes get wide. You, my friend, may just be from the Most Interesting Country in the World.
Point of fact, you don’t even need to be all that charming to be intriguing. We’re #blessed with a solid currency, a language that our colonial forebears took global, and a luminous pop culture that put Michael Jordan jerseys on kids in Buenos Aires and etched Michael Jackson jams into karaoke playlists in Seoul. Your American-ness precedes you, often for the better. So look past what you think the world thinks about the United States writ large. When you’re an American abroad, you’ll find warm welcomes many places — these countries perhaps most of all.