Differences in Living

One of the things I enjoy most about traveling is seeing how people live in other parts of the world. It is interesting to see what people in other countries value in comparison to what we Americans value. I also usually find things I miss about the US and things I see or experience in Europe that I wish happened in the US. So here’s my list of observations….

Things I Missed About the US

  • Hot showers! The places we stayed in Europe were all older buildings so the hot water ran out really fast. I am totally convinced that European women don’t shave their body hair because there just isn’t time before the hot water runs out!
  • The coffee. In many places in Europe, when you order coffee, you get a teeny tiny cup of espresso. If you order a Café Americano, you get milk added to that tiny cup of espresso. I am sure that the caffeine content is the same, but I enjoy drinking a much larger cup of coffee with my breakfast and I really missed this while we were there.
  • Big American breakfasts. In some countries (like Ireland and England), people eat big breakfasts, but Spanish breakfasts seemed to be much smaller. We went to Denny’s for an American breakfast upon returning to the states and it tasted so good!
Paula's breakfast in Lisbon was definitely an exception to this!

Paula’s breakfast in Lisbon was definitely an exception to this!

Things I Miss About Europe

  • How family-friendly everything is. If you’ve been reading my trip reports, you already know how friendly everyone is, especially to children. We were ushered through the fast “line” (there was actually no line) through immigration in Portugal because we had kids. People get up out of their seats on the buses and trams to make sure you get to sit down with your baby. People are always wanting to come up and talk to your children, and not in a creepy way. Kids can also go into bars, which is nice, so there are few places that are off limits even with kids. It is normal to take your kids with you everywhere.

Late night flamenco in Seville

  • The food! I love trying all the different things available in Europe that we don’t necessarily have here.
  • Public transportation. Being able to walk everywhere and just hop on and off buses is so nice.


  • The language. I love being surrounded by foreign language. I know I’m weird….
  • The priorities. Europeans seem to have a different outlook on life. I feel like in the US, we are concerned about having nice cars, big houses, and lots of material things. Of course, I’m sure some Europeans feel the same way, but it seems like the majority of the people there live in smaller housing and many don’t have cars because they rely on public transportation. They seem to be more focused on just living life.


  1. Crystal says:

    It’s nice to reflect when you’ve returned home. Thanks for letting us travel vicariously with you.
    I’ve been living in Northern Ireland for 10 years now, and there are some differences, but not as many as other parts of Europe. The one thing I do miss is the variety of food available in North America!

    • Rachel says:

      Living in Northern Ireland sounds awesome! We are definitely lucky to have a lot of different kinds of food available here in the US, but we don’t have a Moroccan restaurant where we live:(

  2. Shaunna says:

    I have never been to Europe but have always wanted to thanks for the share love seeing the differences.

    • Rachel says:

      Thanks for stopping by! We love to see how other people live and how their priorities are different from ours here in the US.

  3. I have heard that about the coffee, I gotta have a regular sized mug of coffee!

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