I Don’t Feel Like An American Anymore

Tom Kuegler
4 min readJan 7, 2021
Photo courtesy of Getty Images

As I looked around the Urgent Care center yesterday I saw a bunch of Americans in front of me.

Americans living their life.

I live in Bel Air, Maryland, and many folks from this area have a certain accent. We jumble words together. The women say “hun!” a lot. We have our own personalities and cultural norms.

What I’ve realized from living in the Philippines for 2 years is the way we interact with people is more a product of our environment than our personality.

Why do many people from Bel Air, Maryland sound similar? Why do so many Filipinos sing karaoke at big gatherings? Why do Baltimore people typically love the Ravens?

It’s all a product of where we live.

I’m an American who doesn’t live in America anymore. If I had it my way, I wouldn’t live in America ever again, and I’ve changed since I moved away.

I’ve lived in San Francisco, seen 23 states, traveled all around Southeast Asia, and I’ve seen drastic differences in beliefs, cultures, and political opinions.

Since living in the Philippines for the last two years, I’ve forgotten how to “American.”

As I sat at urgent care yesterday, I talked with a nurse who wanted to go to Southeast Asia. Her eyes lit up at the sound of Bali, Vietnam, and Thailand. I wondered whether she’d be any different if she lived there full time. The answer?

Of course she would.

If she spent more than 2 months away she’d come back home and experience reverse culture shock. Her body would be here, but her mind would be back in Asia. She would have changed, and it’s crazy how once we’ve changed, we feel like a stranger in our own land.

This experience could happen to anybody. I’m not special. I don’t see things nobody else has seen. I’m just able to do things many probably want to do but can’t.

Yesterday I watched a bunch of people storm the Capitol building in the United States. It’s hard to remember a day that was ANYTHING like this one in recent memory. Growing up I watched the twin towers fall on September 11.

I’m not equivocating the two days, but this was definitely domestic terrorism and a flat-out…



Tom Kuegler

Travel blogger. 30 years old. Currently in Mexico. Subscribe to my Substack: https://mindofawriter.substack.com/