update from the road: marking off state 49

Why America is Great – According to Emigrants

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This month Heath and I celebrate two years of full time RVing. We’ve visited all 50 states and taken enough road trips to last a lifetime. We love RVing for a lot of reasons: the beauty, the adventure, the freedom. But one unexpected thing we’ve grown to love about RVing is the vast number of interesting  people we meet.

Living in one place, you meet more or less the same type of person everywhere you go. But on the road, we never know who we’ll meet. Retirees, veterans, farmers, techs, businessmen, families, musicians, the list goes on. Hands down, my favorite people to meet are emigrants. People who have left their home country in order to call America home.

It’s absolutely fascinating and heartwarming to hear these people talk. It’s like listening to a mom reading Cinderella to her daughter for the first time. For them, America is a magical land where you can come if you’re looking for hope and opportunity and good looking men (seriously though).

We, speaking as an American, tend to forget about that when we spend most of our time at the office or at home or scrolling through Facebook listening to the masses complain about, well, everything.

There’s this idea floating around American’s heads like our country is falling apart. Everything is going to hell or on the verge of going to hell at any moment. I think Mark Twain said it best when he said,

“If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re mis-informed.”

Because the more I talk to people–that is real people, not people online–the more I remember and see the beauty of America.

Which reminds me, are you aware of how beautiful America is? I mean, really. I know we all want to backpack across Europe or go to Asia just to eat all the food, but think about our country for a minute. Europeans, Asians, Africans, and everyone else in the world has flocked to America for hundreds of years now. Sure, we have freedom and deep fried everything, but we also have a gorgeous country. Full of good people and grand possibilities.

Every time we get online or watch the news or talk to cynical people, we are told that America is a country of former glory that is deteriorating quickly. After visiting every state in the country and talking to hundreds of citizens, natural and emigrants, I’m more sure than ever that America is great. You just have to get out and go see.


PS This microblog was inspired by my new friends Cornelia and JP from South Africa. We met them last week when they came out to grill at our RV. Check out this little Instagram video of our evening:

A video posted by Heath Padgett (@heathpadgett) on