by Joe Jarvis, The Daily Bell:
Where are you from?
Seems like a simple question. As I have been traveling recently outside of the U.S. it has come up a lot.
When someone asks me where I’m from, I want to rattle off some stats. Where I was born, where I moved to; I name the broader regions and the closest cities.
I am from Massachusetts, outside of Boston, but I moved to Florida. No, nowhere near Miami or Orlando. On the Panhandle, basically lower Alabama.
My answer was never the U.S.A. because that is too broad. It doesn’t give much information. Most people asking where I was from assumed I was from the U.S.A. and were curious to know from which region I hailed.
Los Angelos is 2,700 miles from New York City. It would take you two full sleepless days of constant driving to reach Miami from Seattle. America is a large country with vast cultural, geographical, and economic differences. The regions, cities, and people are unique.
And it is not just America where people refer to the region or city instead of the country. Everyone I met who has traveled Asia referred to city names and not the country. They visit Ho Chi Minh City, Manilla, and Chiang Mai, not Vietnam, Philippines, and Thailand.
The natural way to describe a region does not necessarily have to do with the country’s borders. Cities all have their own government anyway. Any authority from above only causes barriers to attracting residents.
Cities free to govern independently can better compete to attract business and visitors.
Digital nomads work remotely and travel. They are a great example of people who vote with their feet. Digital nomads choose a city where they like the culture, technology, and government.
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