I was going to wait to post until I had pictures and stories from far off lands, but then I realized, a lot of people, even my fellow Americans might find some of these places interesting, if not exactly exotic.
As anyone from either coast will tell you, New York resembles San Francisco about as much as I resemble Barack Obama, which is to say: not at all. And if you think the West and East coasts are absolute opposites, then you haven’t been to Texas. Texas has created its own spacetime vortex in an effort to coexist with the rest of the United States (and they’re still working out some bugs.) One reason for all this is because the US is so freakishly huge. Another is that we’re just ornery and conflicted.
I have to admit though, we generally have more in common than we think. However, for all our similarities (e.g. we usually speak english, we accept the Federal government — in theory, and we think Laos is somewhere in South America), it’s quite possible to be a well-travelled citizen and yet have no idea what goes on in the next state. Yeah, you can drink municipal tap water in your home state, but it tastes like crawdads in Louisiana. The dialect of American English that Bostonians speak sounds a little bit like Gaelic. Use “hella” in Florida and everyone looks at you like you’re riding a yak through the city streets. Culture shock abounds, and you don’t even need a passport.
On the other hand, it means if you want to meet the natives you don’t actually have to have a blind date with your friendly neighborhood TSA officer. True, maybe you don’t care about a palace made out of corn or the world’s biggest ball of twine, but we’ve got a lot of space here, and we might as well use it.
After a while you’ll get used to the natives, you’ll start to grok the peculiarities of Dixie, acquire a taste for the oddities of California. ..and maybe just maybe, you won’t look like a tourist (though that does require not wearing your crappiest sweaters and a fanny pack).