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Why our mindsets are so different


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If we return to the topic of passport-free travel then I agree that if you have within your reach areas worth going to a holiday and don't need a passport to go there then it is understandable that you don't go through the onerous process of acquiring a passport.

Here in Europe we have the Schengen-area which in principle is passport-free so tat an ID-card is the only travel document you need to travel from for Finland, for example, to Germany but the authorities strongly recommend to carry a passport with you if you travel outside the Nordic countries. There has been a passport-free travel within the five Nordic countries since the 1950's.

Unfortunately for me, the only European country outside the Nordic countries which I am interested in travelling to is Britain and Britain is not in the Schengen and you still need a passport to go there.

Understandable, however, from their point of view. They don't have a similar very accurate register of the population like Germany or France kincluding compulsory ID-cards. Therefore, maintaining a requirement for a passport to enter the country is their method of having some control which people are in the country.

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Guest American Woman
If we return to the topic of passport-free travel then I agree that if you have within your reach areas worth going to a holiday and don't need a passport to go there then it is understandable that you don't go through the onerous process of acquiring a passport.

Exactly. It's more than just the passport, too - it's border crossing and the customs that goes with it. So Canadians have to go through that to get to tropical weather, but Americans don't. We have, as I pointed out, Alaska to Hawaii and Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Most of Canada's foreign travel is to the U.S., Mexico second. With the U.S. it's the other way around. It's not as if that type of travel is proof of a greater thirst for world knowledge.

As for the European Union, it's compared to the U.S. when it comes to things like GDP and the world's largest economy - so if it's one unit, traveling from country to country is more akin to traveling from state to state - especially when you look at size and travel distance and geography and climate.

Here in Europe we have the Schengen-area which in principle is passport-free so tat an ID-card is the only travel document you need to travel from for Finland, for example, to Germany but the authorities strongly recommend to carry a passport with you if you travel outside the Nordic countries. There has been a passport-free travel within the five Nordic countries since the 1950's.

And it's still a much smaller area than the U.S. by far, and there is really no difference between the geography and the climate. Anyone wishing for a trip to the tropics would still have to travel outside that area.

Unfortunately for me, the only European country outside the Nordic countries which I am interested in travelling to is Britain and Britain is not in the Schengen and you still need a passport to go there.

Understandable, however, from their point of view. They don't have a similar very accurate register of the population like Germany or France kincluding compulsory ID-cards. Therefore, maintaining a requirement for a passport to enter the country is their method of having some control which people are in the country.

I think one of the main reasons a passport is required for Britain - even within the E.U. - is because it is an island. One can only enter by plane, boat, or train.

At any rate, the percentage of Americans holding passports at any given time isn't even an indication of how many Americans have been out of the U.S. My oldest daughter, for example, hasn't bothered renewing her passport at this time because she has no immediate travel plans outside the U.S., and won't renew until she does. She has, however, likely been to more foreign countries that most people her age.

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This very topic made me think: If I were an American would I be interested in travelling outside the USA. Let's see. Depending on my income level, of course, there would probably be different options. I guess that travelling to Europe is quite expensive. I know for sure that with my mindset but if I were an American I would have zero interest in travelling south of the USA on the American continent.

Depending where in the USA I would live I might have some interest in visiting Canada. If I lived in Detroit I would definetely visit Canada very often; if I lived in Phoenix I doubt I would never visit Canada.

All in all, Europe would be some sort of luxury I may not be able to afford.

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Canadian columnist Ivor Tossell provides the correct insight that many others don't understand.

...Americans get America.

They get its size, its scope. The more you travel America, the more you understand why Americans don’t get out to see the world as much as they might, because their country is a world unto itself.

When it come to Canada, I would guess that Americans have seen more of their own country than have Canadians theirs. It is just far more easier to do so.

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Guest American Woman

...Americans get America.

They get its size, its scope. The more you travel America, the more you understand why Americans don’t get out to see the world as much as they might, because their country is a world unto itself.

Some Europeans get it, too - especially the younger crowd. They would talk to me, asking where I've been, if I've been to Alaska, Hawaii, Disney World, NYC, California, New Orleans, Vegas, etc., and when I said yes, they'd say that I've been to so many places when all they've been to is Switzerland, Greece, and Germany (for example) - and I'd say but those are all different countries, and they'd say but look at all the places you've been. They would see it as extensive travel - which it is. Americans love to "See the U.S.A.," and why that would be a bad thing is difficult to understand. And again, Canadians traveling to the U.S. to shop or to go to warm weather destinations hardly qualifies them as world travelers or culturally superior.

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Guest American Woman
This very topic made me think: If I were an American would I be interested in travelling outside the USA.

Why? Would you be more interested in traveling outside the U.S. than you are your own country?

Let's see. Depending on my income level, of course, there would probably be different options. I guess that travelling to Europe is quite expensive. I know for sure that with my mindset but if I were an American I would have zero interest in travelling south of the USA on the American continent.

Again. Why? I don't understand that mindset at all. There are truly awesome places south of the USA on the American continents.

Depending where in the USA I would live I might have some interest in visiting Canada. If I lived in Detroit I would definetely visit Canada very often; if I lived in Phoenix I doubt I would never visit Canada.

There's some truth to that, and with that in mind, remember that 80-90% of Canadians live within 100-200 miles of the U.S. border. So wouldn't it make sense that a greater percentage of Canadians would have visited the U.S. than vice versa?

All in all, Europe would be some sort of luxury I may not be able to afford.

Most Americans who travel can afford Europe; it's not that big of a luxury. It just may not be that much of a priority, when there's more bang for the buck elsewhere. As a side note, when I first traveled to Europe after the onset of the Euro, the dollar was higher than the Euro - and it may well be that way again. The Euro hardly has a 'history' to stand on.

Edited by American Woman
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Some Europeans get it, too - especially the younger crowd. They would talk to me, asking where I've been, if I've been to Alaska, Hawaii, Disney World, NYC, California, New Orleans, Vegas, etc., and when I said yes, they'd say that I've been to so many places when all they've been to is Switzerland, Greece, and Germany (for example) - and I'd say but those are all different countries, and they'd say but look at all the places you've been.

I don't think Europe offers the same scale and, until recently, most of Eastern Europe was not easily accessible. For instance, Germany is smaller than the state of Montana. Traveling Europe via rail pass was all the rage many years ago, complete with hostels and other inexpensive lodging. Many young Americans did this sort of thing during college break or while avoiding service in Vietnam!

The same Americans with a car and some cheap gas money could travel to 49 states, Canada, and Mexico with far greater ease. The U.S. Highways (and later) Interstate system became part of the lure and culture. A "road trip" had endless possibilities.

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I don't think Europe offers the same scale and, until recently, most of Eastern Europe was not easily accessible. For instance, Germany is smaller than the state of Montana. Traveling Europe via rail pass was all the rage many years ago, complete with hostels and other inexpensive lodging. Many young Americans did this sort of thing during college break or while avoiding service in Vietnam!

The same Americans with a car and some cheap gas money could travel to 49 states, Canada, and Mexico with far greater ease. The U.S. Highways (and later) Interstate system became part of the lure and culture. A "road trip" had endless possibilities.

Indeed, but the common European perception is that the US-citizens are losing out of something precious if they don't travel into Europe. As I previously pointed out, I can easily understand people in the US not bothering with the hassle and long flights if they can get the same in their own country quicker and cheaper.

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Guest American Woman
When it come to Canada, I would guess that Americans have seen more of their own country than have Canadians theirs. It is just far more easier to do so.

I think it's an American tradition to travel within their own country....to "see the U.S.A."....

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Indeed, but the common European perception is that the US-citizens are losing out of something precious if they don't travel into Europe.

I'm sure that's true, but what many Europeans don't realize is that "Old Europe" is still the American perception, complete with throngs of tourists in Bermuda shorts. It is a very popular travel destination for older and retired Americans with a "bucket list". Asia and Africa have taken a big bite out of that American traveling demographic as well, many who wish to avoid the routine tourist experience.

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I think it's an American tradition to travel within their own country....to "see the U.S.A."....

Precisely...that Dinah commercial perfectly captures the mindset back then, and to a lesser extent today. I first drove from Baltimore to L.A. at age 18 and it was then that I finally "got it".....size, scope, scale, etc.

Automobiles and ribbons of "twinned" (that's Canadaspeak) highways made for that American experience.

Edited by bush_cheney2004
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Guest American Woman

Precisely...that Dinah commercial perfectly captures the mindset back then, and to a lesser extent today. I first drove from Baltimore to L.A. at age 18 and it was then that I finally "got it".....size, scope, scale, etc.

I first drove from Michigan to Florida when I was 18 and then Michigan to LA not long after and Michigan to NYC/DC not long after that - and I was truly amazed by it all. I still hear the song "See the USA..." it was an American mindset for quite awhile....

I don't see what's wrong with getting to know one's own country. I feel privileged to have seen so much of mine.

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Guest American Woman

Agreed.....I have an old, tattered Rand McNally map of the U.S. marked with all states traveled....only have three more to go: Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire.

Oh, wow. That's awesome! :)

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The last few posts made me more convinced about Canada. It is indeed like a giant version of Finland. Both have an arrogant neighbour next door.

Of course.....as is the case for Canada, more Finns have emigrated to the U.S. than Americans to Finland. It's not hard to understand why.

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Guest American Woman

The last few posts made me more convinced about Canada. It is indeed like a giant version of Finland. Both have an arrogant neighbour next door.

laugh.png

I'll add my laugh.png but most likely for a much different reason.

I don't know about your neighbors TSS (can't remember if it's Sweden or Norway that you have a problem with), but I think I can safely speak for Americans when I say it'll be a cold day in hell before I think y'all are arrogant for enjoying travel within your own country. :) Perhaps the problem doesn't lie with your neighbors ....

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... but I think I can safely speak for Americans when I say it'll be a cold day in hell before I think y'all are arrogant for enjoying travel within your own country. smile.png Perhaps the problem doesn't lie with your neighbors ....

You are on to something there...perhaps the Finns define themselves as "not-<insert country>" just like some Canadians.

Edited by bush_cheney2004
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Guest American Woman

Evidently it's ok for Canadians to say that Canada is the greatest country in the world and to tell us that it's much better than the U.S. - along with all of the other direct insults/claims about the U.S. - but it's not ok for us to say that we enjoy travel within the U.S. That makes Americans the arrogant ones. tongue.png I suppose the same criteria is applied to Sweden or Norway - still can't recall which one he has a problem with.

Edited by American Woman
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.... That makes Americans the arrogant ones. tongue.png I suppose the same criteria is applied to Sweden or Norway - still can't recall which one he has a problem with.

I don't think it matters which one it actually is.....I just cancelled my one-month dream vacation to Finland for a once in a lifetime reindeer safari ! tongue.png

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The last few posts made me more convinced about Canada. It is indeed like a giant version of Finland. Both have an arrogant neighbour next door.

Americans have always had an isolationist streak probably stemming from their belief in their own superiority, which breeds a decided lack of curiosity about other places and ways of life. Me, I think it's great that Americans like to travel mainly within their own country. Less chance of running into them when I travel abroad. It's just a shame they can't be as inward looking when it comes to discussion boards.

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