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Pop Culture

Europeans asked Americans about life in the US and here's what they said

Americans explain tipping, political media, public transit and more.

A side-by-side photo of the European flag and the American flag.

Over on Reddit, Europeans asked Americans different questions about American life, covering every topic from tipping culture to favorite landmarks to football fascination (not to be confused with soccer, of course).

It’s clear from the candid conversation that there are both many wonderful, awe-inspiring things Americans take for granted, and things that, well…aren’t exactly superior, despite USA pride.

Still, it’s interesting to see what mundane aspects of living in the US, both good and bad, might be a source of fascination to someone living outside the country. It can, after all, be easy to forget that the world contains a vast number of lifestyles, and one of the biggest benefits of existing in the modern age is being able to explore those different ways of life. Hopefully physically, but sometimes a good old fashioned internet thread does a pretty good job at giving us insight.

Check out what Europeans wanted to know about America below:

1. "Americans, do you think that political extremism is rising as drastically as it's portrayed in media?” -Jo-Gama

“Unfortunately, yes. The media likely makes it out to be worse than it is, but by doing so, they continue to push people in that direction.” -Fat_Feline

“I think the media makes it sound worse than it is. We’re mostly aware it’s a problem, but we have so many other things to worry about. Rising prices of food, housing and gas affect us way more on a daily basis than racial/political issues. That being said, I also think that the fact we have protests and people speaking out means there’s a large part of this country that is actively working towards change. It’ll just take a while because many current politicians have been alive since polio was a legitimate concern to Americans.” -carminie
america vs europe, reddit, politics, media, fake news

"The media certainly amplifies extreme voices, but the day-to-day reality is that those voices are all around us.”

Photo credit: Canva

“I've seen it in person…Discourse is growing further and further from center and no one wants to talk about it anymore. My parents would often hold parties where their friends would talk politics and sure, maybe get a little heated - now politics is a no-go zone because no one can get along. Conversations evolve into arguments and fights and it's just not worth it. And it's leading a lot of people with differing views to refuse to mingle together, which makes things worse. The media certainly amplifies extreme voices, but the day-to-day reality is that those voices are all around us.”uarterRobot

2. "Do you acknowledge your heritage from European countries?”Mitchelljvb

“Yes, Americans love learning about their ancestry, we have DNA test and tv shows where people will learn about their families past. Most people with European ancestry are able to track their family to the original country they came from.”Nimzay98

3." How can y’all call football (soccer) a boring sport but like American football, which has like a billion interruptions, and baseball, which has close to zero action?” -TheCatInTheHatThings

“I think people dislike football (soccer) because of the lack of scoring, a team can make 10 attempts at goal and end up not scoring but the other team can make 1 attempt and make it in. And that one goal may be the only goal for the whole game. American football, on the other hand, with its yard system, means that any progress by either team ultimately counts towards the end result. There is also more scoring.As an American, I do not understand why anybody watches baseball. That still eludes me.” -rand0m-nerd

“Which city in the US has the best public transit system in your opinion?”RoboGen123

“New York City, hands down.” -kmobnyc

“Chicago over NYC imo.” -Uhhsoka
america vs europe, reddit, subway near me, public transit near me

A photo of people riding the subway.

Photo credit: Canva

4. "Do you ever get tired of how big your country is? Like getting from state to state could take much time as getting to France from England.” -pasta_and_lobster

“Not at all. It’s actually one of the things I love most about the states. If you’re into outdoorsy activities, you’ll never run out of new places to explore.It’s also nice to be able to travel so far without the need for a passport.” -anonandlit333

“Yep. Only problem is gas money lol.” -SouthernMuadib

5." Do you believe the US educational system needs a reform?" -lotlotov

"Which US education system? It has like 3000 different education systems.” -Due_Satisfaction2167

“It’s a very real and scary problem that our government is choosing to ignore.” -wildflowersandroses

“Yes. It’s inequitable. Our taxes fund education, so rich towns have great school systems while those with lesser means get a lesser educational experience." -Username_goes_here_0
america vs europe, reddit, education

"Our taxes fund education, so rich towns have great school systems while those with lesser means get a lesser educational experience."

Photo credit: Canva

6. "How tf does the imperial system work?” -Small_Cock_Jonny

“It's mostly based around units that are intuitive and useful for daily tasks rather than scientifically rigorous. An inch is about the…the length of your top thumb joint…A foot is 12 inches because 12 is easily divisible by a lot of things, you can break it into quarters, halves, thirds, sixths or twelfths…The temperature scale goes from 0 degrees, which is about as cold as it naturally gets most places and also corresponds to the coldest temperature that saltwater can be before freezing, up to 100 degrees which is about as hot as it gets most places and also is close to the temperature of the human body. Overall there is a lot more emphasis on being able to cleanly divide things into halves and quarters, which doesn't exist in metric. A pound is 16 ounces so it can be divided in half four times. A gallon is 16 cups, for the same reason. A cup is 8 ounces. All powers of two.” -Cryptizard

7. "Your favourite place in the us? (city, landscape, landmark, whatever)" -Ovreko

“This is kind of a cop out but National and State parks, Teddy Roosevelt did us good by protecting our natural resources for recreation.” -RosePrecision

“I'm probably biased but southern California is a great place to visit. There's a lot of climate diversity thanks to the mountains and deserts. There's also the beaches, although I do think Hawaii has better beaches. New Mexico and Arizona are good to visit if you like indigenous culture.” -FantasyBeach

North Carolina…. Such a slept on state, I miss that place. Mountains, beaches, food, major colleges, and nice cities all within 3hrs.”-Piff370z
america vs europe, reddit, american landmarks

"Teddy Roosevelt did us good by protecting our natural resources for recreation.”

Photo credit: Canva

8. "What’s with you guys and tipping, don’t get me wrong it’s great to tip but the way you guys make it seem bothers me.” -Armysars

“Companies don’t pay their workers. It’s not entitlement but survival, especially if you’re on a tipped wage. You make around $2 per hour if you are under this wage. Keep in mind that you would need at least double minimum wage to afford an apartment.” -Alarmed_Inflation_68

“It annoys us too. It gets worse year over year as well. I would rather we pay people a liveable wage from the outset than have them survive on tips. Tipping culture won't go anywhere though, it gives business owners an excuse to pay their employees as little as possible.” -Fat_Feline

9. "What do you learn in ‘science class’? Don’t you have separate classes of like physics, chemistry, biology etc.?”-Gilbert_Grauschwanz

“Usually the early years are clumped together as 'science class.' When you get to middle/high school, the classes are separated. I remember taking earth science/geology, biology, physics, and chemistry.” -Arumidden

“The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell.”-Alexandria-Rhodes
america vs europe, reddit

“The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell.”

Photo credit: Canva

10. "Since WW2 the US has been at the forefront of innovation and has been responsible for many of humanity's great accomplishments during this period…Does this give you a sense of pride or is it not that important from your perspectives?”Torridesttube69

“Honestly my national pride depends solely on who's criticizing my country. A fellow American criticizing our economy? "yeah dude this country's a shithole" A Brit*sh tourist criticizing our economy? "🇺🇸America🇺🇸🇺🇸🦅🦅🦅greatest🦅🦅 nation 🔫💪💪💪 on earth 🦅🦅🇺🇸🇺🇸" -overcork

Pop Culture

Woman explains how a double mastectomy inspired her to take a 9-month cruise around the world

“There is no way I’m waiting…till I retire. Because that’s not promised to any of us.”


Angie Linderman chronicles her adventure on Royal Caribbean's ultimate world Cruise.

Upworthy has covered quite a few stories about people who have abandoned dry land to live their best life at sea. Usually these cruise enthusiasts are older, retired couples looking for cost effective adventures during their golden years, but for 37-year-old Angela Linderman, different motivations were at play.

Linderman tragically lost both of her parents to cancer at the age of 65 to cancer. Then, she learned that she inherited the BRCA2 gene mutation, which increases her risk of developing breast, ovarian and skin cancer.

To offset some of the risks of being diagnosed, Linderman underwent a preventative double mastectomy, removing all breast tissue and nipples before having implants.

Dealing with the death of both her parents, along with her own mortality, gave Linderman a hard won epiphany: waiting is overrated.

@angielinderman Ultimate World Cruise Q&A or really FAQ since i dont know how to do a Q&A on here. Help! I tried to andwer as many as I could that I know a lot of people have, but let me kniw what else you want to know about what its like on @Royal Caribbean’s Ultiamte World Cruise. #RoyalCaribbean #crusing #explore #solotravler #worldCruise #UltimateWorldCruise #UWC #SerenadeOfTheSeas #cruise #travel #solofemaletraveler #cruiseship #cruisetok ♬ original sound - Angie

“To me there is no thought of retirement,” Linderman said in a now-viral TikTok clip. “There is no way I’m waiting to do sh*t til I retire. That’s not promised to any of us, and my family's genetics aren’t lining up to let me have a terribly long life so ‘doing all the things now’ is kind of my motto.”

And this is why, at the age of 37, not 65, Linderman chose to embark upon the much talked about Royal Caribbean’s Ultimate World cruise, a 274-night journey to every continent across the globe. Her dream was made possible by the life insurance money her parents left behind.

In some ways, regular life goes on. Though Linderman took a step back from client management at her job, she still works as a part-time social media freelancer when not taking in the views. Above all though her main focus is creating joyful memories.

On various social media platforms, Linderman has shared several of those memories, from a hike to Mexico’s Chichén Itzá to the gorgeous beaches of Aruba to simply knitting and binging Netflix during canceled port days.

@angielinderman Day 4; Chichén Itzá it was a long hot day, but completly worth it. We had an 11 hour excursaion and 7 of those were travel. This is our first of the World Wonder stops and it was a great way to start!!! #RoyalCaribbean #crusing #explore #solotravler #worldCruise #UltimateWorldCruise #UWC #SerenadeOfTheSeas #cruise #travel @Royal Caribbean ♬ original sound - Angie
@angielinderman Day 15: (12/24/23) Sushi Making Class  A few of us were invited to join in on a Sushi-making class and even though seafood and rice are not my favorites I said yes. This trip is about trying new things and enjoying all the experiences along the way and all the new people I am getting to know and spend time with!  #RoyalCaribbean #crusing #explore #solotravler #worldCruise #UltimateWorldCruise #UWC #SerenadeOfTheSeas #cruise #travel#9monthworldcruise #9monthcruise @Brandee Lake, @Shannon Marie, @Madison Schwetje, @Brooklyn Schwetje, @Little Rat Brain, @Andrew & Ale Kenney, @drjennytravels, and @Amike Oosthuizen ♬ original sound - Angie

Royal Caribbean’s website boasts a tour that includes 11 Wonder of the World, 60+ countries, and a visit to all seven continents—though passengers will not touch down in Antarctica. Prices for tickets start at around $59,999 per person and go upwards of around $117,599 per person.

But even if you can’t afford a round-the-world cruise, there is still valuable wisdom to be had from Linderman’s story. Long term plans serve a great purpose, but so does remembering that the future is not guaranteed. What we do know is that people tend to leave this world regretting all the ways they didn’t truly live—working too hard, not expressing themselves, or not allowing themselves happiness.

So maybe not every gratification needs to be delayed. Maybe there are a few bucket list items, big or small, that can and should be enjoyed now, rather than being put off. If for nothing else, to simply feel like one’s precious life really is theirs to create.

Go carpe that diem.


Marty and Jess Ansen have spent nearly 500 days onboard Princess Cruise Lines

For many, if not most of us, the purpose of retirement is to sit back and enjoy life. A chance to see the world, take up new hobbies, explore what it means to simply exist without having to clock in.

So it’s almost no wonder that more and more retirees are finding themselves on cruise ships, where relaxation, adventure (and having someone else do your chores) are the name of the game.

Retired Australian couple Marty and Jess Ansen can certainly attest to this—having spent close to 500 days sailing around the world on their 51 back-to-back cruises.

That’s right. 51 cruises. Back. To. Back.

The great-grandparents told A Current Affair that they were cruise fanatics long before calling one home, and were eager to catch on the cruising they missed during Australia’s strict COVID-19 lockdowns.

Plus, their plan to spend two years onboard became a no-brainer after realizing it would be cheaper than a nursing home. Marty told their travel agent “whatever comes, just book it,” and they’ve been living it up ever since.

In addition to enjoying the perks of their morning ping-pong matches and sipping beer while basking in breathtaking views, the Ansens particularly enjoy ballroom and hula dancing.

“Where else can you go where you go for dinner, you go to a show, you go dancing?” Jess gushed. “Through the day, you have all these activities.”

At this point, Jess and Marty are pretty much beloved fixtures of the cruise itself, dubbed by the hotel managers as the “celebrities onboard.” And the duo takes their status seriously—making sure to welcome every new captain aboard.

One might wonder if there are ever bittersweet feelings about being so far away from home and family, but the couple attests that no such feelings arise.

“They’re all busy,” Jess shared, regarding their other family members. “And we’re in a place in our lives where we just want to enjoy it.”

So, aside from the occasional reunion when they touch down in a nearby port, the cruising couple are focused on having fun with each other. It’s a journey with no end in sight, for as soon as they finish touring with their current vessel, a Princess Cruises’ 2,000-passenger Coral Princess, they plan to hop onto an even bigger ship, the Crown Princess, for another year. Then..who knows…

And according to Jess and Marty, “it’s a wonderful life.”

Curious about how to make permanent cruising a reality in your own life? You might find some helpful tips here



Psychologist breaks down why cruises are good for our mental health

Popularity has surged since the pandemic. There's a reason why.


Not a phone in sight. So beautiful.

Cruise life might have taken a hiatus in 2020 (along with everything else), but post-pandemic business is booming. There are more people embarking on cruises than even in 2019, according to the Cruise Lines International Association (TIME). And with overall prices that are lower than a lot of mortgages and rents, many folks opt to cruise full-time.

So…is it just the competitive prices calling us to sea? The promise of adventure, perhaps? Or is it simply the 24-hour buffet that makes it so intriguing?

A psychologist and cruise enthusiast has some compelling thoughts.

In her essay written for Psychology Today, Mary McNaughton-Cassill, PhD, argues that while cruises “may not be for everyone,” they do provide many psychological benefits that improve our mental health.

For one thing, cruises offer the luxury of pure leisure time, which McNaughton-Cassill says “Americans are starved for.”
mental health

You can hear the silence in this picture.


And she has a point. When was the last time you didn’t have to use up precious mental energy wondering how dinner was going to be taken care of, who would watch the kids, whether or not anything needs to be cleaned, etc., etc. Even on our regular “days off,” many of us just spend it catching up on ignored chores (aka “housework). In a world where burnout and errand paralysis are very, very real, it’s no wonder why having everything taken care of is a grand fantasy.

Second, McNaughton-Cassill explained that going on a cruise all but forces someone to be without their phone for a bit, which helps ease feelings of loneliness.

happy people on a cruise

It's nice not to be lonely.


Loneliness might have been an issue exacerbated by the pandemic, but it certainly existed before that—and has been on the rise since the 1970s. We know that technology is a double-edged sword in this arena, offering us constant contact through endless pings and social media but often very little community.

But while out at sea, where wi-fi is hardly worth the high price, you can put the phone away without a second thought, and instead enjoy the simple pleasure of connecting with new people. Everyone from the staff to the servers to your fellow travelers get to know you by name, which is a stark contrast to the social cut-off-edness of “real life.”

And for the introverts for whom this scenario sounds like a nightmare, you have the permission to bask in the sweetness of your own thoughts during your social media detox…which honestly could probably still help with the loneliness thing.

Lastly, McNaughton-Cassill notes that going on cruises exposes us to two very therapeutic things most of us get too little of—music and nature. We know that both are good for our physical and mental well-being, and cruise travelers, as they soak up the sun, enjoy the ocean waves, listen to live bands and maybe even dance a little, are certainly exposed to all kinds of these natural remedies.

cruise life

Sunbathe by day, dancing by night.


It makes sense that in our busy, jam-packed lives, the thought of getting multiple needs met all in one go would be attractive to many people. But even if that sweet cruise life isn’t the right fit for you, finding ways to actually relax, unplug and nourish the soul are so very important. Hopefully if reading this didn’t inspire you to buy a ticket, it at least reminded you to book that overdue massage or slip back in that favorite book for a few hours.