I’m NOT American

You never realize how proud you are of your roots until you venture away from your roots to explore. I was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada and that will always be home no matter how long I’m gone and no matter how far I go. When I walk the quiet Sask streets the air feels crisper and every corner has a hint of familiarity.

When I left Saskatchewan after University, I made sure everyone knew I was from see your dog run away for days, Saskatchewan. I repped that green plate like a badge of honour. Whenever I saw another green plate, it gave a slight relaxing feeling that I had another mate around in case I got in to trouble or if I needed to push my jeep out of a snowbank. Saskatchewan doesn’t have big mountains or waterfalls, but we got people and that’s what other provinces know us for. Sask is all about the hardworking nice folk.

Then when I left for overseas for my first real backpacking trip to Europe with my girlfriend, we learned really quick that Americans and Canadians have the same accent. As far as I could tell North America might as well be called the United States of North America. When people would confront us as Americans I would get all defensive as if they they just insulted my family’s name. I would correct them “We are Canadian”, which would always be followed with either “Where in Canada?”. When I answered with Saskatchewan, I might as well have said Jupiter, it’s just past Mars and if you hit Saturn you’ve gone too far.

I kept and I keep thinking how can we Canadians separate ourselves from the Americans so that this confusion can be minimized. It’s not that we hate the States, but it’s all about being proud of our Canadian roots and letting the world know Canadians are proud to be Canadian.

A few things I believe Canadians or at least Prairie folk hold close as being our things include:

1) THE COLD – We can bear frigid temperatures up to -60 and since weather is probably the most common conversation in any country it’s easy to slip in a remark about how nice it is compared to a Canadian winter.

2) BEARS – We live amongst what is understood by non-Canadians to be the most dangerous animal, the Bear. So have I seen a bear? Of course I have! Having a picture is bonus Canadian street cred.

3) DRIVING – Canada is huge and everyone drives everywhere. Once you travel you begin to realize how much smaller most countries are. We can drive for 6 hours straight and pass 5 cars and 3 gas stations. Our driving endurance is epic, rep it!

4) HOCKEY – We live and breath hockey as kids in Canada so slip this in when your watching some club rugby or footie in a pub.

5) Proximity to Vancouver and Toronto – Since most people know of these two cities, it’s good to know the  approximate distance to them. This will also cement in how big Canada is if they don’t understand yet. “Ya Vancouver, I’m from about 1500 km’s east of there, about a days drive.”

To make things a little more visual for people we also sewed some Canadian flags our bags and that seems to do the trick as well.

If there’s something that you think might work better to let world know we put Maple Syrup on everything, we have pet beavers, and we used ice skates to get back and forth from school as kids let me know!

Happy travels HOSERS!

Posted by Mitch

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