this 4th of july feels a little bit different.
particularly because our little jaunt to asia really brought out the patriotism in my husband.
this kid is seriously red, white and blue now.

traveling gives you the chance to talk with people from all over the world.
not just locals, but with other travelers.
the majority were canadian, german, french and australian.

and after a few beers, friendly conversation would turn to curious questions.
we’d chat with other travelers about realities of free vs. paid healthcare, social programs, maternity leave, vacation & PTO, education & student loans, government assistance and the general outside perception of each other’s homelands. it was fascinating.
and with locals and expats we’d gain insights about local politics, struggles with democracy, the stark contrast of local vs. western “poverty” standards, and the concept of credit (doesn’t exist for developing countries) vs. saving and owning things outright.

no doubt the US is loved by most developing countries and respected by fellow westerners.
but there are key differences and varied approaches to touchy subjects.
americans get an A for education and a failing grade for travel and life balance.
other travelers were always shocked to hear that we’re american…
the typical response, “but americans don’t travel!” and it’s not that skewed of a statement.
did you know only 12% of americans have a passport?
while most countries provide 1-2 months of annual paid leave, support young adult’s “leap years” and encourage extended international travel, we can’t fathom that.

i could go on and on about the conversations and similarities/differences of us and the rest of the western world.
but that’s not the point today.
today it’s all about the stars & stripes.
being thankful for the amazing freedoms, luxuries and liberties we have.
and celebrating our beautiful country together. 

without a doubt, one of the most unexpected and powerful changes that came out of our trip is danny’s heightened patriotism.
living on another continent for months on end puts things in perspective.
today that kid is going to be waving those stars and stripes with a new found sense of pride. 

happy fourth of july.

press play to hear one of my favorite songs for the holiday.


wanna test your US knowledge? could you pass the citizenship test?
click here to answer the sample questions. green = correct; red = incorrect.
i scored a 39/50.

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