#2 Austin, United States
#2 Austin, United States

“Whether I like it or not, there’s no denying that the United States have a huge global influence. What happens there on the 8th of November, will affect the rest of the world. When I travel, my international friends often gravitate towards the same question: “What the heck is going on over there?” At first, I always laugh, because it’s true. Things are crazy and this election is going to be highlighted in history books for more reasons than one. A good thing about traveling, is the opportunity to disconnect from the daily stresses of life in the States. On the other hand, I think that willful ignorance is just as toxic. When I’m on the road, I’m constantly trying to find a proper balance. Your accessibility is limited, so staying informed is always a conscious effort. I was raised to always think critically and question everything. No matter where I am in the world, I use this logic when consuming information, especially when it comes to political affairs. I try to find coverage from both sides of an issue, knowing that the truth will likely be somewhere in the middle. Because of language barriers, the easiest way to do this when traveling is via Internet. I’m still fond of a good, old-fashioned newspaper, though! International media covering US politics are often left-leaning, simply because most developed countries are left-leaning in comparison to the US. Discussions with other travelers tend to reflect this position. Most people I meet, regardless of their political stance, look upon this election with befuddlement, then anger. My reaction is mostly empathy. When someone asks why the US don’t ban guns, I try to explain the intention behind the Second Amendment. I try to paint a picture of the extreme distrust of the government that many US citizens feel. This election is polarizing and emotional. As a traveler from the US and a world citizen, I feel that it’s my job to bridge that gap with compassion. We need to have patience with each other, so that we’re able to rationally address the motives and emotions behind these issues. If you ask me, this is the first step in electing a truly representative government. Where I live, Election Day has never been a celebratory event, but more of a nail-biter as everyone anxiously watches the live results. We’re going to change that this year, though. We need to celebrate Election Day, instead of dreading it. So, if you happen to be in Austin, Texas, make sure you swing by!”