Should Americans pretend to be Canadian while traveling abroad?

If you’ve been abroad and especially in a hostel, you’ve likely heard that some Americans are boycotting themselves as Canadian. United States is in every media outlet around the world. All eyes are on the Americans. With the current war and past presidency alone, it brings up quite a political debate that most of us would like to avoid. There’s already a common thought in United States that Americans are usually hated by the rest of the world. Americans are scared of being treated, talked to, and thought of differently than everyone else. So, should Americans just pretend to be Canadian to avoid issues abroad?

I wasn’t on the road much during the Bush presidency so it may have been different then, however, I did just come back from nearly a year around Asia, Australia, and South America. During that time, I have never met an American boycotting themselves as Canadian. Neither have I ever pretended to be Canadian as well.

Set A Good Example

One of the reasons Americans are so easy to judge is because there are not enough Americans traveling to set a good example therefore they’re easier judge or create an image of. Just be yourself and I can guarantee you, their image will change. Since so few of us are on the road, it’s even easier to set a good image.

American Canadian boy

American Canadian boy by SteveBhai

There are over 300 million Americans, if someone were to judge every single one of them, I’d say they’re quite narrow minded. It’s only happen to me once in a full year of travel that someone told me they did not want to speak to me because I was American. In these cases, if that’s their personality, it’s better off not becoming their friend even if you were Canadian. Take it like they’re doing you a favor by not wanting to talk to you because you don’t want to associate yourself with these types of travelers to begin with. If a debate comes up, restrain from becoming too hostile and try to understand where they are coming from. Media has force fed many peoples way of thinking. Explain to them there’s a difference between what the government does and the people. Some people just want to express how they feel about our government, just listen in on what the other side thinks. You may learn a few things you didn’t even realize. Next thing you know, you’ll be traveling to the next destination together.

[pullquote]A wise traveler never despises his own country. -Carlo Goldoni[/pullquote]

On a another positive note, being an American can bring up some interesting conversations as well. Since we seem to be popular and there isn’t enough of us traveling, people are more interested in who we are. Besides the one instance, I have always been treated the same as everyone else. Interacting with people from other cultures is one of the most important aspects of travel.

If you’re one of those travelers pretending to be Canadian, I say just go home and don’t even bother traveling. You’ve obviously missed the whole point of travel.

Note: So no one gets too sensitive, I love Canada and this has nothing to do with Canada itself.

  • http://www.livingthedreamrtw.com Jeremy

    I traveled with people who had a Canadian flag sewn into their bags even though they were American. I was freely wandering around Egypt and Jordan saying I was American and getting “Yay Obama!” every single time I said it. People who are against American politics are not against American individuals. Don’t talk politics and everyone is happy.

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      Seems like every time I was forced into a political convo, it happens in hostels while their drunk. I stay far and clear from those.
      Some (by some I mean almost none) friendly educated political talk is okay but when does that ever happen?

  • http://www.livingthedreamrtw.com Jeremy

    I traveled with people who had a Canadian flag sewn into their bags even though they were American. I was freely wandering around Egypt and Jordan saying I was American and getting “Yay Obama!” every single time I said it. People who are against American politics are not against American individuals. Don’t talk politics and everyone is happy.

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      Seems like every time I was forced into a political convo, it happens in hostels while their drunk. I stay far and clear from those.
      Some (by some I mean almost none) friendly educated political talk is okay but when does that ever happen?

  • http://twitter.com/mpppg mpguinan

    I pretended I was Canadian to passing acquaintances or in larger crowds when I first traveled to Egypt during the Bush administration. When I visited again after the Obama election, I was proudly and openly American. I wore the Obama Hope button and was amazed how many Egyptians knew that it represented the Obama campaign. The mood was very different in the Arab world after the election.

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      Hm interesting. Did you feel you were treated differently as a Canadian? Did you try as an American first before switching to Canadian? Any events caused you to do this?

  • http://twitter.com/mpppg mpguinan

    I pretended I was Canadian to passing acquaintances or in larger crowds when I first traveled to Egypt during the Bush administration. When I visited again after the Obama election, I was proudly and openly American. I wore the Obama Hope button and was amazed how many Egyptians knew that it represented the Obama campaign. The mood was very different in the Arab world after the election.

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      Hm interesting. Did you feel you were treated differently as a Canadian? Did you try as an American first before switching to Canadian? Any events caused you to do this?

  • http://twitter.com/LunaticLtd Rich Cook

    Having traveled since I was young, I’ve frequently found to easy to spot Americans because they/we are often louder & more demanding than other nationalities. That being said, I’ve never had problems from anyone no matter what the current international opinion of the US is. I’d wager than unless you meet a card varying AQ, you’ll rarely have problems, unless you use you Americanisms to bust on their traditions.

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      Well I found the louder and more demanding ones are vacationers and not really backpackers. The American backpackers are a bit different. At least from what I’ve seen.

  • http://twitter.com/LunaticLtd Rich Cook

    Having traveled since I was young, I’ve frequently found to easy to spot Americans because they/we are often louder & more demanding than other nationalities. That being said, I’ve never had problems from anyone no matter what the current international opinion of the US is. I’d wager than unless you meet a card varying AQ, you’ll rarely have problems, unless you use you Americanisms to bust on their traditions.

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      Well I found the louder and more demanding ones are vacationers and not really backpackers. The American backpackers are a bit different. At least from what I’ve seen.

  • http://dreamalittledream.ca Scott

    I’ve been traveling for 10 months now, and every time I see a Canadian flag sewn on a bag I start asking some questions. You see, being a Canadian, I’ve heard this story as well and wanted to bust some people especially since I have a great ear for North American accents. Unfortunately I was just greeted to the same old Canadian big smiles, talk of the -30 celsius weather and our melting igloos. Very few Americans. Though it’s been agreed that in these times of global warming, there is a market for selling ice to eskimos.

    But really, democracy does mean the government and it’s policies are an extension of the people and wishes that they serve. For the people, by the people and such. The U.S. of A extends their might socially, economically and sometimes forcibly throughout the world effecting billions of people. A lot of these people don’t have access to our levels of education or free press. Of course they’re going to ask you questions. Much like we ask about the Pyramids, Wats or others cultures. You never know, maybe some of these conversations will resonate and open you up to some new ideas. That’s the point of travel, isn’t it?

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      Well exactly. Curiosity is perfect and I love when people ask me questions about my country and where I live. It’s a great topic and I find most people are extremely interested in what I have to say about USA being an American. But there are a ‘few’ (very few) who have a strong opinion about what USA is and I’m lectured on how horrible ‘WE’ all are. Those I tend to walk away from.

  • http://dreamalittledream.ca Scott

    I’ve been traveling for 10 months now, and every time I see a Canadian flag sewn on a bag I start asking some questions. You see, being a Canadian, I’ve heard this story as well and wanted to bust some people especially since I have a great ear for North American accents. Unfortunately I was just greeted to the same old Canadian big smiles, talk of the -30 celsius weather and our melting igloos. Very few Americans. Though it’s been agreed that in these times of global warming, there is a market for selling ice to eskimos.

    But really, democracy does mean the government and it’s policies are an extension of the people and wishes that they serve. For the people, by the people and such. The U.S. of A extends their might socially, economically and sometimes forcibly throughout the world effecting billions of people. A lot of these people don’t have access to our levels of education or free press. Of course they’re going to ask you questions. Much like we ask about the Pyramids, Wats or others cultures. You never know, maybe some of these conversations will resonate and open you up to some new ideas. That’s the point of travel, isn’t it?

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      Well exactly. Curiosity is perfect and I love when people ask me questions about my country and where I live. It’s a great topic and I find most people are extremely interested in what I have to say about USA being an American. But there are a ‘few’ (very few) who have a strong opinion about what USA is and I’m lectured on how horrible ‘WE’ all are. Those I tend to walk away from.

  • purplekat99

    i travelled a lot during the bush years and i never pretended to be anything but american and never had an issue. i was mainly in europe, new zealand and australia and everyone i ran into knew the difference between country and person and never put any “blame” on me.

    i was in australia when obama won and it was kind of fun to finally get the otherside of everything. everywhere i went, loads of people where like, obama, yeah!

    also, since americans are not knowing for travelling, as a safety measure, everyone would always ask if i was canadian as canucks apparently get super insulted if you ask if they are americans, but americans don’t care if you think they are from canada. i was assumed canadian loads and always replied with a smile that, nope, from a little farther south!

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      Good to hear that you’ve had a good experience traveling as just being yourself

  • purplekat99

    i travelled a lot during the bush years and i never pretended to be anything but american and never had an issue. i was mainly in europe, new zealand and australia and everyone i ran into knew the difference between country and person and never put any “blame” on me.

    i was in australia when obama won and it was kind of fun to finally get the otherside of everything. everywhere i went, loads of people where like, obama, yeah!

    also, since americans are not knowing for travelling, as a safety measure, everyone would always ask if i was canadian as canucks apparently get super insulted if you ask if they are americans, but americans don’t care if you think they are from canada. i was assumed canadian loads and always replied with a smile that, nope, from a little farther south!

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      Good to hear that you’ve had a good experience traveling as just being yourself

  • http://www.theplanetd.com/ Dave and Deb

    Haha, I love your note at the bottom. It is funny how people perceive the American/Canadian relationship. People think we are from the States all the time and when we say no, we’re from Canada. They always apologize profusely for the misunderstanding. They think that we will be offended, which we are not. We love Americans! and some of the best people we have met on our travels have been from the States.
    For an American, I think it is tough being at the top, the whole world is always judging you. Canadians don’t get any flack from people because we aren’t even a thought in their minds. Half the time when we travel (and I am not exaggerating) people don’t even know where Canada is. In Sri Lanka a guy was sure that San Francisco was a part of Canada. Others in India thought that we were located near Germany and many people think that we are part of Australia. It is easy to be loved when nobody knows anything about you:-)
    I agree, don’t pretend to be someone you are not. If somebody is judging you by where you are from then they are not worth hanging out with.

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      Hey Dave and Deb! Ah I didn’t realize but you’re right. Seems like people are nervous about calling Canadians Americans sometimes.

  • http://www.theplanetd.com/ Dave and Deb

    Haha, I love your note at the bottom. It is funny how people perceive the American/Canadian relationship. People think we are from the States all the time and when we say no, we’re from Canada. They always apologize profusely for the misunderstanding. They think that we will be offended, which we are not. We love Americans! and some of the best people we have met on our travels have been from the States.
    For an American, I think it is tough being at the top, the whole world is always judging you. Canadians don’t get any flack from people because we aren’t even a thought in their minds. Half the time when we travel (and I am not exaggerating) people don’t even know where Canada is. In Sri Lanka a guy was sure that San Francisco was a part of Canada. Others in India thought that we were located near Germany and many people think that we are part of Australia. It is easy to be loved when nobody knows anything about you:-)
    I agree, don’t pretend to be someone you are not. If somebody is judging you by where you are from then they are not worth hanging out with.

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      Hey Dave and Deb! Ah I didn’t realize but you’re right. Seems like people are nervous about calling Canadians Americans sometimes.

  • http://twenty-somethingtravel.com Stephanie

    I definitely agree Michael, I hate the idea that people would try to hide or disguise their nationality. As Americans we may be subject to more comments or prejudices (although in my experience this is greatly exaggerated) but we also have a responsibility as ambassadors of our country. Stereotypes about dumb loud Americans are never going to change if we all hide behind the Canadian flag. I am not *always* proud to be American but it’s a part of my identity and to hide it is a huge cop-out.

  • http://twenty-somethingtravel.com Stephanie

    I definitely agree Michael, I hate the idea that people would try to hide or disguise their nationality. As Americans we may be subject to more comments or prejudices (although in my experience this is greatly exaggerated) but we also have a responsibility as ambassadors of our country. Stereotypes about dumb loud Americans are never going to change if we all hide behind the Canadian flag. I am not *always* proud to be American but it’s a part of my identity and to hide it is a huge cop-out.

  • Cody

    I don’t need to pretend to be anybody else. I am a Texan. And our reputation around the world is a very positive one. Many people are great fans of Westerns and John Wayne still. It may be a form of stereotyping but I don’t mind it. And I would NEVER tell anybody that I am a Canadian. I am not afraid to say what country that I am from and to wear my flag, both Texas and the US on my clothing or on a hat when I travel. As a former Marine I don’t frighten easy. I also don’t tolerate anybody dumping on me or wanting to rant about our government. I travel for personal enjoyment, not as a psycho-therapist for disgruntled or mentally disheveled foreigners.

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      ….

  • Cody

    I don’t need to pretend to be anybody else. I am a Texan. And our reputation around the world is a very positive one. Many people are great fans of Westerns and John Wayne still. It may be a form of stereotyping but I don’t mind it. And I would NEVER tell anybody that I am a Canadian. I am not afraid to say what country that I am from and to wear my flag, both Texas and the US on my clothing or on a hat when I travel. As a former Marine I don’t frighten easy. I also don’t tolerate anybody dumping on me or wanting to rant about our government. I travel for personal enjoyment, not as a psycho-therapist for disgruntled or mentally disheveled foreigners.

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      ….

  • Jennifer

    Do you think it might be a good idea to pretend not being American in some of the Middle Eastern countries? I vaguely remember a story about some violent shooting at a hotel where they asked people (travelers) whether or not they were American, and shot them if they were. What are your thoughts?

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      How often do you think this actually happens? What you stated is one in a trillion chance. Sure when the time comes you have a gun pointed to your head, then say you’re from wherever you want to be from but really though, how often does this happen? And for the most part, there are little issues of Americans traveling even in the Middle East.

    • NomadDanib

      there are crazy people all pverthe world.  Go to Detroit.  Thats not all that safe either.  Most Middle eastern people i have met (in America and traveling abroad, i have not yet gone to the Middle east) want to meet Americans so they can discourage false sterotypes we have of them, as much as learn about us  besides what THEY see on the news.

      • NomadDanib

        ps.  sorry for the spelling.  its dark and my keyboard is not backlit.

  • Jennifer

    Do you think it might be a good idea to pretend not being American in some of the Middle Eastern countries? I vaguely remember a story about some violent shooting at a hotel where they asked people (travelers) whether or not they were American, and shot them if they were. What are your thoughts?

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      How often do you think this actually happens? What you stated is one in a trillion chance. Sure when the time comes you have a gun pointed to your head, then say you’re from wherever you want to be from but really though, how often does this happen? And for the most part, there are little issues of Americans traveling even in the Middle East.

    • NomadDanib

      there are crazy people all pverthe world.  Go to Detroit.  Thats not all that safe either.  Most Middle eastern people i have met (in America and traveling abroad, i have not yet gone to the Middle east) want to meet Americans so they can discourage false sterotypes we have of them, as much as learn about us  besides what THEY see on the news.

      • NomadDanib

        ps.  sorry for the spelling.  its dark and my keyboard is not backlit.

  • http://www.JeremiahStanghini.com/ Jeremiah Stanghini, MBA

    Ironically for me, I am both a Canadian and an American. Since I grew up in Canada (and, culturally, I would consider myself Canadian), when I’ve been traveling abroad (Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, New Zealand), I often tell people I’m Canadian. However, should a point arise in the conversation, I’m not shy about being American, too. People are often curious about how I have passports in two countries (and I’m not a spy)… lol. Once I get the paperwork straightened out, I’ll be able to have three passports! (Adding Italy to the mix.)

    With Love and Gratitude,

    Jeremiah

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      Interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever known anybody that has both passports. I’m also applying for the Italy passport which should be really exciting (joke – I hear the process takes a year to get ugh).

    • NomadDanib

      i actually miss having the canadian passport as well by 1 generation.  i could easily get one if i moved to canada for a bit (half my family lives there), but the Acadian heritage is blended anyway.  I like saying im American because it opens up conversations because people want to know what stereotypes are tru or not.  I feel really weird saying im Canadian in Venezuela, but if you read my comment, i am doing it for saftey reasons encouraged by my first host family

  • http://www.JeremiahStanghini.com/ Jeremiah Stanghini

    Ironically for me, I am both a Canadian and an American. Since I grew up in Canada (and, culturally, I would consider myself Canadian), when I’ve been traveling abroad (Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, New Zealand), I often tell people I’m Canadian. However, should a point arise in the conversation, I’m not shy about being American, too. People are often curious about how I have passports in two countries (and I’m not a spy)… lol. Once I get the paperwork straightened out, I’ll be able to have three passports! (Adding Italy to the mix.)

    With Love and Gratitude,

    Jeremiah

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      Interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever known anybody that has both passports. I’m also applying for the Italy passport which should be really exciting (joke – I hear the process takes a year to get ugh).

    • NomadDanib

      i actually miss having the canadian passport as well by 1 generation.  i could easily get one if i moved to canada for a bit (half my family lives there), but the Acadian heritage is blended anyway.  I like saying im American because it opens up conversations because people want to know what stereotypes are tru or not.  I feel really weird saying im Canadian in Venezuela, but if you read my comment, i am doing it for saftey reasons encouraged by my first host family

  • http://www.hustletoparadise.com/ Harrison

    I traveled to France, and had no problem saying that I was American. Actually, I find that many people from around the world love the American culture (the shows and celebrities). The stereotypes are only perpetuated by news outlets around the world … hence why I don’t watch the news much anymore. The world seems much more peaceful that way.

  • http://www.hustletoparadise.com/ Harrison

    I traveled to France, and had no problem saying that I was American. Actually, I find that many people from around the world love the American culture (the shows and celebrities). The stereotypes are only perpetuated by news outlets around the world … hence why I don’t watch the news much anymore. The world seems much more peaceful that way.

  • Sweet Basil

    “Explain to them there’s a difference between what the government does and the people.”  We are a democratic republic what the government does represents the will of the people and the people are responsibile for the actions of its government.   From my experience the gap of accountability  is the root of many hostilities…

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      I don’t agree with that. What you’re saying is then 300 million people all think the same. As we all know, democracy still does not mean we have total control of the government. It will still act upon what the government ‘feels’ what is right for the people.

  • Sweet Basil

    “Explain to them there’s a difference between what the government does and the people.”  We are a democratic republic what the government does represents the will of the people and the people are responsibile for the actions of its government.   From my experience the gap of accountability  is the root of many hostilities…

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      I don’t agree with that. What you’re saying is then 300 million people all think the same. As we all know, democracy still does not mean we have total control of the government. It will still act upon what the government ‘feels’ what is right for the people.

  • Christine

    I agree that you shouldn’t lie about where you’re from. Sometimes though when I’m traveling with American friends they tend to go on and on about America. I usually try to steer the conversation back to other countries because I want to know more about them and because I don’t want to live up to the stereotype of being an obnoxious, self-centered. Of course you can talk about America without being like this, but everything in moderation.

  • Christine

    I agree that you shouldn’t lie about where you’re from. Sometimes though when I’m traveling with American friends they tend to go on and on about America. I usually try to steer the conversation back to other countries because I want to know more about them and because I don’t want to live up to the stereotype of being an obnoxious, self-centered. Of course you can talk about America without being like this, but everything in moderation.

  • http://ExpertVagabond.com/ Matthew Karsten

    I’ve had quite a few people be surprised when I tell them I’m American. “You don’t look like an American” has been said many times. I think it’s funny.  I have no idea what it means though. :)

    One thing I’ve noticed is that some travelers feel insulted that I don’t know certain things about their country, when they know everything about mine. I have to explain that everyone knows everything about America because it’s in the news & conversations non-stop throughout the world. 

    If I ask them about specifics on some other country (like Japan or China), they’re usually just as clueless as I am about theirs.

  • http://expertvagabond.com Matthew Karsten

    I’ve had quite a few people be surprised when I tell them I’m American. “You don’t look like an American” has been said many times. I think it’s funny.  I have no idea what it means though. :)

    One thing I’ve noticed is that some travelers feel insulted that I don’t know certain things about their country, when they know everything about mine. I have to explain that everyone knows everything about America because it’s in the news & conversations non-stop throughout the world. 

    If I ask them about specifics on some other country (like Japan or China), they’re usually just as clueless as I am about theirs.

  • Andrea

    I’m a Canadian, and I’m in total agreement that Americans should be proud to be Americans when abroad as the only way to change the stereotype is to prove it wrong. Every culture has it’s own brand of loud, obnoxious, ignorant, and impatient tourist, my own included.
    I once gave an American friend a lesson on how to be Canadian after she had said in a bar that she was Canadian. The people she was talking with had immediately expressed how glad they where that she was not American and how much they disliked America. She came to me for advice because she was too nervous to admit to her actual citizenship. After a few months of being “Canadian” she finally came clean to her friends, and guess what, they didn’t care that she was American anymore. Once they knew her, nationality didn’t matter. Small scale proof of concept…now we just need to apply it globally  

  • Andrea

    I’m a Canadian, and I’m in total agreement that Americans should be proud to be Americans when abroad as the only way to change the stereotype is to prove it wrong. Every culture has it’s own brand of loud, obnoxious, ignorant, and impatient tourist, my own included.
    I once gave an American friend a lesson on how to be Canadian after she had said in a bar that she was Canadian. The people she was talking with had immediately expressed how glad they where that she was not American and how much they disliked America. She came to me for advice because she was too nervous to admit to her actual citizenship. After a few months of being “Canadian” she finally came clean to her friends, and guess what, they didn’t care that she was American anymore. Once they knew her, nationality didn’t matter. Small scale proof of concept…now we just need to apply it globally  

  • NomadDanib

    in Caracas and traveling in Venezuela alone, i have said im Canadian (helps my family is Acadian from Nova Scotia and Maine)…or i say i grew up in both.  It has helped a couple times here to keep too interested people (interested in say, how much money i make) away..because Americans are seen as all rich, but not Canadians

     (and Venezuela is not the safest, but still beautiful and i highly recommend it!)

    This is actually the first time i have ever pretended to be Canadian…but was highly encouraged to do so by a host family when i was first in Caracas.  To ‘be’ anyone but an American.  Once i hit Colombia, im back to full American again. 

    But saying i grew up in both Canada and America has helped with my own safety, while allowing people the opportunity to ask questions about how true American stereotypes are.
    (and when asked ‘are all Americans rich’ my usually answer is ” Yes. and all American women are whores” with a very sarcastic look on my face.  this usu starts laughter and a great conversation on what people in each culture is really like.

    Which i do (the answer to the richness of Americans) when i am “full American”.  i am just lucky enough to actually have a very french name, a very french family, and be almost full Acadian (not ARcadian – totally different)

    im not going to lie, i feel weird pretending im someone im not.  But i have been highly encouraged to do so in certain parts of venezuela and when im traveling thru it on bus alone for my own saftey.  I actually prefer to proudly say “YES I AM AMERICAN.  NO WE ARE NOT ALL LIKE FOX NEWS” (which ive discovered Venezuelans think we are.  the only American news station they get is FOX.)

    So, yes i have done it.  It feels weird and i dont think i prefer it.  But because of warning and pleads from my friends to NOT BE AMERICAN for awhile, i am taking their warnings to heart.

    PS:  VENEZUELA IS AMAZING!  yes, Caracas is quite dangerous, but so is Detroit.  Once out of the city, venezuelans become much more open to strangers, and your ability to walk around more safely increases (just dont be stupid about it, flashing an expensive camera or jewelry).

    I think Caracas has given the rest of Venezuela a bad rep, and the beauty of this country far surpasses the dangers of one city. 

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      I’m in Colombia and I’ve heard the same thing about their Anti-Americanism’s. In these cases, I can give an exception. Safety is definitely important.

      I mostly dedicated this article to a British girl backpacking around Australia that said she hated Americans and didn’t want to talk to me. That set me off but it was actually the only time anyone has ever had anything negative to say to me because I’m American.

  • NomadDanib

    in Caracas and traveling in Venezuela alone, i have said im Canadian (helps my family is Acadian from Nova Scotia and Maine)…or i say i grew up in both.  It has helped a couple times here to keep too interested people (interested in say, how much money i make) away..because Americans are seen as all rich, but not Canadians

     (and Venezuela is not the safest, but still beautiful and i highly recommend it!)

    This is actually the first time i have ever pretended to be Canadian…but was highly encouraged to do so by a host family when i was first in Caracas.  To ‘be’ anyone but an American.  Once i hit Colombia, im back to full American again. 

    But saying i grew up in both Canada and America has helped with my own safety, while allowing people the opportunity to ask questions about how true American stereotypes are.
    (and when asked ‘are all Americans rich’ my usually answer is ” Yes. and all American women are whores” with a very sarcastic look on my face.  this usu starts laughter and a great conversation on what people in each culture is really like.

    Which i do (the answer to the richness of Americans) when i am “full American”.  i am just lucky enough to actually have a very french name, a very french family, and be almost full Acadian (not ARcadian – totally different)

    im not going to lie, i feel weird pretending im someone im not.  But i have been highly encouraged to do so in certain parts of venezuela and when im traveling thru it on bus alone for my own saftey.  I actually prefer to proudly say “YES I AM AMERICAN.  NO WE ARE NOT ALL LIKE FOX NEWS” (which ive discovered Venezuelans think we are.  the only American news station they get is FOX.)

    So, yes i have done it.  It feels weird and i dont think i prefer it.  But because of warning and pleads from my friends to NOT BE AMERICAN for awhile, i am taking their warnings to heart.

    PS:  VENEZUELA IS AMAZING!  yes, Caracas is quite dangerous, but so is Detroit.  Once out of the city, venezuelans become much more open to strangers, and your ability to walk around more safely increases (just dont be stupid about it, flashing an expensive camera or jewelry).

    I think Caracas has given the rest of Venezuela a bad rep, and the beauty of this country far surpasses the dangers of one city. 

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      I’m in Colombia and I’ve heard the same thing about their Anti-Americanism’s. In these cases, I can give an exception. Safety is definitely important.

      I mostly dedicated this article to a British girl backpacking around Australia that said she hated Americans and didn’t want to talk to me. That set me off but it was actually the only time anyone has ever had anything negative to say to me because I’m American.

  • Chris Pos

    I have met people who pretended to be Canadian and only after finding out im American they told me. I was very disgusted by them. 

    As for the people who don’t want to talk to you when they hear you are American;  Most of those people are uneducated when it comes to US politics.  It is amazing, some of the most close minded people i have met hate america because that’s “the cool thing to do”. 
    If someone will judge based on country, race, sexual orientation, or any other reason are people i wouln’t want to meet anyways. 

  • Chris Pos

    I have met people who pretended to be Canadian and only after finding out im American they told me. I was very disgusted by them. 

    As for the people who don’t want to talk to you when they hear you are American;  Most of those people are uneducated when it comes to US politics.  It is amazing, some of the most close minded people i have met hate america because that’s “the cool thing to do”. 
    If someone will judge based on country, race, sexual orientation, or any other reason are people i wouln’t want to meet anyways. 

  • Mary Claire Miller

    I feel people are treating this as something new and it is not.  I experienced this difference in treatment first 25 years ago when I was 14 and traveling with my family in Germany.  In a German Macdonaldsmy dad was asked if we were American and when gently told no Canadian recieved profuse apologies. I experienced it 12 Years ago living in the UK and every trip since.  As a Canadian I have always travelled with a flag on my backpack proud to be a Canadian.  I have met Americans proud to be Canadian, American proud to be American and Canadians I was ashamed to call Canadian.  Example Vancouver riots last year.  This has been an issue that has been around for a long time and show no sign of going away.  Unfortunately

    • Mary Claire Miller

      Sorry that should be Americans pretending to be Canadian.

  • Mary Claire Miller

    I feel people are treating this as something new and it is not.  I experienced this difference in treatment first 25 years ago when I was 14 and traveling with my family in Germany.  In a German Macdonaldsmy dad was asked if we were American and when gently told no Canadian recieved profuse apologies. I experienced it 12 Years ago living in the UK and every trip since.  As a Canadian I have always travelled with a flag on my backpack proud to be a Canadian.  I have met Americans proud to be Canadian, American proud to be American and Canadians I was ashamed to call Canadian.  Example Vancouver riots last year.  This has been an issue that has been around for a long time and show no sign of going away.  Unfortunately

    • Mary Claire Miller

      Sorry that should be Americans pretending to be Canadian.

  • mitch

    This is lame. I will always tell people where I am from. That being said I always aim to be a good representation of real Americans. Anyone who thinks a nation of 320,000,000  are all idiots, is an idiot in turn. Luckily, I have never received any flack for my nationality throughout my travels. 

  • mitch

    This is lame. I will always tell people where I am from. That being said I always aim to be a good representation of real Americans. Anyone who thinks a nation of 320,000,000  are all idiots, is an idiot in turn. Luckily, I have never received any flack for my nationality throughout my travels. 

  • Myjudas

    Being pretty southern, I could never get away with claiming to be Canadian, though I’ve been tempted at times. The US is so well-known that I frequently find conversations turn to the US and US politics, when I’d rather talk about the country of the person I’m speaking with (but when I don’t know much about it, I usually don’t know what to ask). I figure, if I said I was from Canada, that part of the conversation would be over (I likely wouldn’t be asked my opinion on such-and-such politician or my stance on the wars or whatever else is going on at the time).

    I’m not particularly ashamed to be American, but I am a bit ashamed every time I meet someone who knows much more about my country than I know about theirs. :P

  • Myjudas

    Being pretty southern, I could never get away with claiming to be Canadian, though I’ve been tempted at times. The US is so well-known that I frequently find conversations turn to the US and US politics, when I’d rather talk about the country of the person I’m speaking with (but when I don’t know much about it, I usually don’t know what to ask). I figure, if I said I was from Canada, that part of the conversation would be over (I likely wouldn’t be asked my opinion on such-and-such politician or my stance on the wars or whatever else is going on at the time).

    I’m not particularly ashamed to be American, but I am a bit ashamed every time I meet someone who knows much more about my country than I know about theirs. :P

  • Foster

    Having grown up in San Francisco area, i just tell people i’m from California as most tend to know it.  Obviously i’m American, but saying the state just rolls of a bit easier and people start talking about Hollywood and baywatch or what not.  sort of funny.  And i have no problem letting them know i’m from the U.S as i can care less if they have negative things to say about it or me.  Something i don’t stress about.
    On another note and also fun to do when you have some one bugging you, trying to sell you something or walk with you just being annoying as you are walking along and when they ask where i’m from and they are expecting me to say America, i come out and say, ‘Oh i’m from Chad’.  They of course are like, ‘Oh Where is that?’  I respond with, ‘It’s in central Africa, you haven’t heard of Chad (acting all amazed that they haven’t)’  From that point on they have nothing clever to say about the handful of popular travel countries they are familiar with to try and communicate even more.  I’ve only really done that like twice, but was funny when i did, because well, no one knows anything about Chad (including me) to know if i wasn’t telling the truth. 

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      Every time I say I’m from the states, they always ask what part. So now I just say the exact state.

  • Foster

    Having grown up in San Francisco area, i just tell people i’m from California as most tend to know it.  Obviously i’m American, but saying the state just rolls of a bit easier and people start talking about Hollywood and baywatch or what not.  sort of funny.  And i have no problem letting them know i’m from the U.S as i can care less if they have negative things to say about it or me.  Something i don’t stress about.
    On another note and also fun to do when you have some one bugging you, trying to sell you something or walk with you just being annoying as you are walking along and when they ask where i’m from and they are expecting me to say America, i come out and say, ‘Oh i’m from Chad’.  They of course are like, ‘Oh Where is that?’  I respond with, ‘It’s in central Africa, you haven’t heard of Chad (acting all amazed that they haven’t)’  From that point on they have nothing clever to say about the handful of popular travel countries they are familiar with to try and communicate even more.  I’ve only really done that like twice, but was funny when i did, because well, no one knows anything about Chad (including me) to know if i wasn’t telling the truth. 

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      Every time I say I’m from the states, they always ask what part. So now I just say the exact state.

  • Fake

    I give fake names, jobs all sorts of stuff….thats the American way LOL

    also when asked where your from say the country then the state. dont assume everyone knows the 50 states cus they dont(why would they).

  • Fake

    I give fake names, jobs all sorts of stuff….thats the American way LOL

    also when asked where your from say the country then the state. dont assume everyone knows the 50 states cus they dont(why would they).

  • Nookster Lee

    I’m 60 years old and have traveled around the world on a motorcycle.  I’ve actually been treated with more kindness and friendliness in most countries than here in the states.   When people ask me where I’m from and I sense they may have issues I say “I’m from planet earth like you, so that means we must be related”.  I maintain an expression less gaze for about 15 seconds or so as people try to decide if I’m crazy or not and then I break out with a big laugh and give their hand a hearty shake or a slap on the back.  We have a good laugh together and after that no one cares where I’m from.

  • Nookster Lee

    I’m 60 years old and have traveled around the world on a motorcycle.  I’ve actually been treated with more kindness and friendliness in most countries than here in the states.   When people ask me where I’m from and I sense they may have issues I say “I’m from planet earth like you, so that means we must be related”.  I maintain an expression less gaze for about 15 seconds or so as people try to decide if I’m crazy or not and then I break out with a big laugh and give their hand a hearty shake or a slap on the back.  We have a good laugh together and after that no one cares where I’m from.