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10 Reasons To Visit The USA, ASAP!!!

10 Reasons To Visit The USA, ASAP!!!

I’ve been chipping away and brainstorming this post on reasons to visit the USA for a while. Not only is it a critical piece of my entire blogs identity, it also speaks to my cultural spirit and reason for living the last 10 years of my life. I don’t have children, I have travel and a connection with the country I now call my home. As a proud citizen and resident, I invite you to come and see America the way I see it, as an amalgamation of cultures with a fierce independence and a determination to always be a place that allows people freedom and a reason to dream.


flag - visit the USA


  1. Its like SIX countries in one! To say the very least, the USA could be comfortably divided up into six countries all culturally, environmentally and geopolitically different and distinct. You have the South-West, North-West, Mid-West, South-East, North-East, oh and then Texas, which technically could be divided into two because its vastly different from east to west. No other continent can compete with our different landscapes and regional variations.
  2. Everything you could ever want is here. We pride ourselves in having the best of everything no matter what you are into. Now you might argue that we don’t have the best skiing or the best food etc, but when you put everything together, no other country can offer you what we can. Sure other countries have ski slops 2 hours from the beach, but a Disneyland as well? Unheard of! ūüôā
  3. National Parks. Americans realized early in the piece, that in order to preserve natural beauty, certain areas who display distinct and beautiful flora and fauna, need to be cordoned off and preserved for the benefit of future generations. No matter if you are into mountains, beaches, deserts, or just wide open plains, the American National Parks system has something for you! National Parks are always a great place to start off your vacation planning. Aim to add a few of them into your holidays and enjoy a real untouched American experience. national parks - visit the USA
  4. Great Highways. There are many engineering marvels that I truly admire about America, and the Interstate Highway system is one of them. Thanks to the forethought of President Eisenhower, we have an elaborate yet coherent system of controlled-access road infrastructure running east and west and everywhere in-between. It’s something that all of us here take for granted, but America wouldn’t be the awesome place it is without it. It’s not until you go overseas and see what other countries have that you actually admire and appreciate it.
  5. Great food. Thanks to post world war II industrialized food production techniques, America has a really bad reputation for producing chemically infused, plastic, boring food, but that’s not the whole story. The real food you find cooking in peoples homes and in diners and restaurants is something to be treasured, and the best part? Every region has it’s own distinct specialties that are truly unique and local to that area. These regional fares are even more varied these days with the influx of multiculturalism. Everything new and old is fused together to make every dining option imaginable. Broaden your mind and include a little bit of everything in your vacation meal planning and you will¬†be better for it.Southern food - visit the USA
  6. Friendly people. I’ve never felt at home anywhere like I have in America. Even in urban places that have a terrible reputation for rudeness and bad manners, I’ve always encountered kind people who are willing to take their time to help me without question. Forget what preconceived notions you have about the American population as a whole and come and experience it for yourself. It’s great to know that when you’re traveling, help is available at every turn, all you have to do is ask.
  7. History and Attractions. Ok… So America might be way behind Europe as far as history is concerned, but what we do have we fought mighty hard to keep, and for that we have a strong and proud tradition we love to share with the rest of the world. My favorite part about traveling America is all the living history museums and reenactments. It’s one thing to go to a museum, it’s quite another to step back into time and amerce yourself in yesteryear. We can’t move forward into to future until we acknowledge and respect the past.
  8. Great for kids. Great news for parents, America is very kid friendly. In fact whole industries are built around providing your children with a great vacation and memorable experience. Of course Theme Parks are the obvious contenders here, but everything from child friendly restaurants, to easy transportation and accommodation, ensure that no matter what vacation option you choose to take, there’s something available for everyone.¬†theme parks -visit the USA
  9. Affordability.¬†What I love about traveling America is that some places still are dirt cheap to visit AND live. While It’s true that some cities on the East and West coasts require you to take a second mortgage out just to visit, the Midwest and South are completely budget friendly and affordable. You can still get a hotel room in this country for $20 and a meal for under $2. No matter what your budget, there’s options for everyone. No excuses for not getting out there and seeing this great land!
  10. Sense of Community. There are not many countries you can visit in the developed world still have such a strong sense of community. Even in this technological age where communication is largely digital, Americans still band together and form strong bonds within their geographical regions. This is most evident during times of crisis when people extend help and generosity to others, but even during the day to day, I always feel a huge sense of acceptance and belonging. Everywhere I have lived and traveled here I have felt welcomed and wanted. This is the reason I chose to become an American, and this is the reason I choose to stay.


small town USA


So, after much thought and deliberation these are my top 10 reasons to visit America. Thanks for reading and I hope to see you here soon!

Feel free to share your American vacation stories and what you loved most about your visit.


Why I Don’t Write Online Reviews

Why I Don’t Write Online Reviews

Let’s talk about online reviews. We are so very fortune these days to have the internet. It’s such a great resource and virtually everything can be looked up and researched from the privacy of our homes, but in my opinion, some websites take advantage of the public’s generosity for their own financial gain and offer little in return.

This is something I’ve been pondering for a few years and in this post I will discuss the Pros and Cons of writing reviews for products and services, and why this might not be the best use of your valuable time….Yes, there are more Cons Than Pros…



Tips help people:

OK so I admit that on occasion I have made good use of the ‘tips and tricks’ people have posted on review sites about particular businesses. ¬†Tips such as opening/closing times, addresses and basic information about products and services. It’s a great¬†resource when emotion and personal opinion is taken out of the equation and people just stick to the facts, but unfortunately that’s not typical human nature.


Good for overseas travel:online reviews sarah sorge

One thing I do notice when I research my overseas trips is that there is not a lot of information online, even for high tourist areas. So in this instance, the very little reviews about hotels and restaurants is quite valuable.  You will be lucky to find maybe 1-5 user reviews on Trip Adviser, and a couple on booking websites and I actually do read them because there is a lot more at steak traveling to another part of the world with different standards and cultures and not knowing where the hell you will end up. In This instance however, I do prefer to read online blogs.  These people are usually experienced travelers and restaurant goers and have intelligent things to say and unbiased tips to give.




Takes up too much time:

So on one of my typical road trips I stay at 20 hotels, eat at 60 restaurants and visit 40 museums and amusements. So that’s 120 reviews I would have to write after every trip if I was serious about giving fair feedback for everything I’ve seen, done and ate. ¬†That’s a HUGE time investment. ¬†I have a home life like everybody else and that’s just too much to ask of anyone. ¬†There are people on Yelp who actually eat out every day and write reviews every day. ¬†If that’s your idea of recreational fun then have at it, but I can’t help but think that time could be better spend learning, traveling and bettering yourself.


Little to no rewards:

There really is little to no rewards for the vast amount of time spent writing reviews. ¬†Sure some booking websites offer discounts after writing 10 or so, but how many actually make use of it? ¬†Look the only people benefiting from writing reviews is the websites themselves. It’s true, human psychology suggests that people are much more likely to buy a product that has a lot of reviews and more positive reviews than negative, regardless of what they say, and that means these sites get to sell more products and drive in more traffic.


Doing other peoples work for them:

Yup, you are doing other people’s work for them literally for free and they are sitting there reaping in the rewards and profits. It’s their business and their responsibility to sell products and drive traffic to their sites, not yours,and yet you are being used specifically for this purpose. ¬†It’s free marketing, free advertising and free labor. ¬†Do they give you a percentage of the profits for spending the 30+ minutes to takes to write a detailed review each time? nope. Do they even ask buyers if there has been a particular review that has influenced their purchasing decisions, and then offer you a reward or compensation for that? nope.. Sorry sucker, you’ve been¬†had, and thanks for playing along!


Review sites are biased:

Not only are they getting your labor for free they are taking your intellectual property and using it at whim however they see fit. ¬†It’s true, they edit your posts, especially the negative aspects and then rank your review based on what marketing strategy they have figured out works best for them. ¬†For example they will put the more positive/favorable reviews up the top and taper down to the negative ones, and review sites like Yelp will actually hide your review in a section they call “Not Recommended”. Wow really? who are they to say that your review is not as informative or important as somebody else’s?

Take my review of them now for example, there is no way in hell they would allow me to publish any of this on their websites. Why? Because they are on a good ride and don’t want people knowing the truth. ¬†Our job is to shut up and keep writing those reviews!


online reviews beach resort


Review sites have far too much power:

Uhuh, a group of dudes have registered a web domain to create a review based site and a couple of years down the line they now have to power to hold every single restaurant, hotel, local business and major conglomerate in the palm of their hands. ¬†These review sites literally hold the public’s purchasing power at ransom and toy with it at will.

Not only are they unfairly biased towards businesses, but they pick out favorite writers with their “Top Reviewer” and “Elite Status” programs that basically say, “Thanks for conforming and doing what we want of you all this time and we are now going to tell the world that you are truly one of Santa’s little friends”…..

They also send out their favorite businesses marketing materials that say “Find us on this website” and “like/review us on …”. ¬†This serves 2 purposes. It let’s people know that this restaurant is one who complies with what¬†the review sites like, AND it gets people to link back to the website to write more reviews and generate more profits, hits and power! sneaky sneaky but I’m onto you…..


Businesses offer bribes:

This is the main reason I stopped writing reviews. Sites like Yelp say that businesses can’t pay to have reviews put on or taken off BUT, companies do contact reviewers privately and offer bribes and incentives in exchange for positive reviews. This happened to me a couple of times on the odd occasion when I did write a less than glowing review. The company would contact me and say “Hey we are so sorry you didn’t enjoy your time with us, here’s a $25-50 gift card for you to come back and then wrote another review.” ¬†Now if I was that type of asshole, I could probably get at least 2-3 free dinners every week. I’m not even kidding.

So this made me think, just because I refused to take part in this, doesn’t mean that others haven’t done it and I know for a fact that they have! so what’s the point then, if all these review sites are a hodgepodge of real reviews, negative ones, biased ones and paid ones? ¬†How can you tell whats real and genuine and what’s not? oh that’s right you can’t….Back away, not today, sexy lady!



Open yourself up to attack:

If you write a review that someone doesn’t like, or their experiences varied greatly to yours, then be prepared for a barrage of hateful assault. Guaranteed you have experienced this to some degree if you are active in the review community, and who knows who these people are. They could be randoms, friends and relatives of the business owner, or even someone working behind the scenes. It’s extremely unnerving, embarrassing and makes you sit there and think “Why even bother writing reviews in the first place?” Yea…. just don’t….


Anyone can write a review:

Let’s discuss the actual quality of the reviews themselves. ¬†Anyone can write them. Anyone can create an account (or multiple accounts), and crap away to their hearts content. ¬†Far too much credit is given to some person who may have not even patronized a business at online reviews keyboardall. There are some people who look for trendy new restaurants or services with high traffic and create fictitious reviews simply to get noticed. This is just one example of many ridiculous unjusts that go on in the world of online reviewing.



Some people are negative about everything:

There are some people out there that really, really, really, need to get laid. ¬†It’s takes a “special” kind of person to sit there for hours behind a computer screen spitting out hateful negative rants one after another, but believe me friends, they exist. This ties into the fact that anyone can just say anything they want online with little to no consequences.

Fortunately these people are pretty easy to spot. Just click on their user name and you will notice all their other reviews and also extremely negative. Just write these off and whatever you do, don’t give them any attention. No feeding of the trolls allowed!

Here is a general rule of thumb.  If you want to take reviews into consideration, look at the 3 and 4 star ones.  These people are usually mentally stable and are trying to offer a fair and reasonable review, while still making a point to list any potential downfalls.


People are spiteful:

Along with negative sad sacks the world is also full of spiteful, childish, vindictive people who will make it their life’s work to destroy anyone for the slightest infraction, and review sites are the perfect breeding ground for this type of unjust behavior. ¬†This is why reviews, particularly negative ones should be taken with a grain of salt and don’t let them stop you from doing what you want to do. ¬†If you are unsure then go and see it for yourself. The worst thing that can happen is you don’t like your food. ¬†We eat over 1000 meals a year. One is not going to make any difference and you don’t ever have to go back. Sure, money is important and we don’t like to waste it, but a few dollars is not worth ruining someones life over.


You can ruin someones business:

This is the sad part of online reviewing. people don’t actually realize how powerful their words are and can have a huge hand in destroying peoples lives and businesses. ¬†The online world is like high-school and can foster an environment of groups, cliques and bullying. ¬†Some review sites allow you to add friends and form groups and this in turn can cause people to act with impunity and mob mentality. ¬†Word travels extremely fast and it doesn’t take too many negative comments before it starts having a huge negative impact on someones business.

online reviews restaurant

People rate low for 1 bad experience:

This is the one thing that shits me the most about online reviewing. You get a person that goes the a business over 40 times, and then one day they don’t receive the typical service they are used to receiving and then they go online and write a scathing 1 star review. ¬†Absolutely ridiculous and stupid! Sure, feel free to mention the one off bad experience in the overall review, but take ALL your visits into account and review it as an average, not a one off.¬†We are all humans. We all have bad days and we are not machines. If you are receiving one bad experience, talk to them first and try to resolve the issue in house before making it known for the whole world to see.

Now is a good time to go and re-read all of your reviews and if you have something was said in spite, anger or extreme negativity, then seriously consider changing it and taking the higher road.


Unrealistic expectations:

Ahh yes, don’t you just love the people who pay $40 for a hotel room and expect a night at the Grand Hyatt. Haha it always makes me laugh and it’s such a #first_world_problem.

In all seriousness though, yes, you do have the right to a clean room, clean bed, a functioning bathroom and the right to feel safe, but please be reasonable and practice some common sense. If you expect more than the bare basics then pay more. I’ts as simple as that.


cultural differences:

As an immigrant myself, I absolutely agree that if you are going to live in America, you need to conform and adjust to the American lifestyle and customs, but in all fairness, 5 years in America is not going to erase 40 years of living in some third world shit hole. We all know the saying “hard to teach an old dog new tricks”, and a certain level of cultural understanding and leeway should be given when dealing with someone who is not from this country. ¬†What you might perceive as rude and inappropriate, might be perfectly acceptable to somebody else and if you are going to put yourself in direct contact with ethnic people, then at least be mature enough to have an open mind and practice a bit of cultural discretion.


Out for the world to see:

Just because you think your review is the funniest, most awesome prose ever written, doesn’t mean that your employer or potential employer will feel the same way. ¬†You see in order to bolster the claim that review sites are real and genuine, they will try and get as much personal information from you as possible. This includes asking for your full name, telephone number, email address, pictures, online verification, likes, dislikes, everything. Now of course you can put in fake information, but you will be very surprised at how traceable the information you put online really is. ¬†Sites like Amazon and Yelp have an extremely high ranking and often appear first in search results so its not hard to find your information if someone wants to look for it. Remember everything you put out into the world has the propensity to follow you for life. ¬†Be very careful with what you say and the information you put out there.


Google now has better statistics:online reviews google

I’m so pleased that google and other search engines are now adding personal details about businesses out for everyone to see. ¬†They have upgraded their databases to include basic information about local business such as address and phone numbers, opening hours,¬†busiest times to go and easily accessible menus. ¬†I’m hoping this saves a lot of people from having to click into review sites and being bombarded with nonsense information and extreme biases.


Forced to sign up to read reviews:

Most of them now force you to sign up just to READ the detailed reviews. This is so they can turn around and say to any potential buyer or advertiser “Hey we have X amount of subscribers, so our website is worth so much more than our competition, and you should compensate us handsomely for that.”

So this basically means that helping people is NOT their agenda here. ¬†We are all just there to build up their branding so they can get top dollar for their web product in any potential sales deals. ¬†It’s a smart, cunning business model, and i commend anybody for creating a profitable business out of thin air, but using people in the process is unethical and not the way I do business.¬†I would rather write reviews and articles myself, help people as much as I can and if that turns profitable then great. If not, then i hope people can get some use out of my writing efforts.



Thank you for reading. ¬†The most important thing to take away from this is that everybody experiences things differently. Everybody has different expectations and just because somebody else doesn’t like something doesn’t mean that you will feel the same way. ¬†Take your life for example. ¬†Not everyone will like your house, not everyone will like your cooking, or the car your drive, or the clothes you wear. See my point?

Go out and experience life for yourself and don’t¬†worry about what anyone else has to say. The most important thing is that you are happy.

I’d love to hear your opinions on writing online reviews.

online reviews global economy


*I’m not affiliated with any websites and everything mentioned in this posting is a true and accurate representation of my experiences in the world of online reviewing.*



Just because you are on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t eat amazing food and be healthy. ¬†Here are some helpful tips for saving money on food…glorious food!



I always tell saving money on food meatpeople when I get sick of the finance business that I’m going to find employment is the supermarket industry. ¬†No matter what economic situation the world is in, we still need to eat. ¬†Imagine how much money we could save if we didn’t have to nourish ourselves every day. Next to accommodation this is the biggest expense for most of us, especially if you have a family. It’s obviously a lot easier for singles and couples to make drastic changes to the food budget than it is for families, but here are some great solutions for cutting your food bills, saving for your dream vacation and still being mindful of what you put in your body.



1 РWrite a shopping list and stick to it. 

I really am not one for writing out budgets, after years of living frugally I’ve just learned to keep a mindful record of money in Vs. money out, but with shopping you have to know what you need for the week and stick to it. ¬†How many times have you done your main shop and then gone back to the store 2-3 times during the week to buy what you forgot and inadvertently extras you don’t need and haven’t budgeted for! Those extra visits can add up to an extra $60-80 a week to your food bill. Having a clear plan of what you need for the week is the key to saving money on food esaving money on food shopping listxpenses AND saving time.


2- Plan your meals and cook at home.

I know…..this requires a bit of forward planning, but if you are cooking at home (it really is the cheapest option in the western world),
then you either spend the time planning ahead for the week, or spend even longer planning it day by day. The easiest and quickest way to do this is cook it bulk and eat it over a few days. Now some people don’t like eating the same thing every day (boo-hoo!), but I grew up extremely poor and i’ll eat anything and be grateful for it. I have no qualms about eating the same stew or casserole for dinner 3-4 nights in a row. ¬†If you don’t like doing this and have a busy working schedule, then your options are limited to fast meals like pasta, stir fry’s and salads. ¬†By cooking in bulk you can buy ingredients in bulk and you only have to cook 2-3 times a week and save your treats and dinner out for the weekend.


 3- buy fresh and do your own prep.

Have you ever really thought about how much extra that bag of lettuce is compared to buying an actual head of lettuce? It’s usually $3.00 more expensive and for what? Paying somebody else to spend the extra few minutes running it under the tap and chopping it up? Once again it’s something you can prepare ahead and eat later.


4- Breakfasts and Lunches.

These same principles for dinner can be used for breakfast and lunch. Instead of spending $5.00 a box on sugary cereal, buy some rolled oats in bulk at the health food store and make up some refrigerator oatmeal jars. They are super yummy, easy, can be made into any flavor, last a few days in the fridge and are very nutritious. Lunches can be pre-made sandwiches, salads or explore the amazing variety of the Bento Box craze. Left overs, rice, snacks and thousands of other options can be made into a lunchbox Bento that can offer something different every day. Remember that you can adjust to a new eating regime, just give yourself couple of weeks and you will be craving your new healthy options, and your body and wallet will be happier for it.


5 – Try foreign food

This is going to be a hard sell, but hear me out. ¬†As much as I love US culture, the standard American Diet (or SAD), is just that…SAD! ¬†There is a whole world of flavors out there that most of us are are completely unfamiliar with, especially when cooking at home. ¬†We all fall into a routine of preparing the same handful of recipes over and over and being afraid of trying something new. I have great news! there are¬†saving money on food restaurantsliterally billions of international recipes online and most are cheap and simple to prepare. If you find it difficult to start, try a cuisine with similar taste profiles and cooking methods to western food, such as Persian, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern. ¬†Once you have experience in that you will be confident enough to branch off to more complicated and bold foreign food affairs. Another benefit of expanding your diet is learning about other cultures and it’s a perfect way to take a mini cultural immersion when you can’t afford an overseas trip at this time.


6- International Markets.

Most people don’t know this, but one of the cheapest places to shop is at an international food market. Whether it be Asian, Indian, Arabic or Mexican you can be sure to find some good deals, even if you choose not to diversity your cooking experience. Here’s a couple of prime examples. A 1 lb bag of basmati rice is over $4.00 at the regular store. You can buy the same rice for $1.50 at an ethnic store and that’s not all, spices are considerably cheaper at almost a quarter of the price. Another benefit is that a lot of the markets make their products everyday so you always find something fresh and even if you only go once every month or two, you will notice the difference. Its also fun to try new things. Make an effort to pick up 2 new items you’ve never tried or heard of before, who knows, they may be your new favorite snacks, and if not, well, at least you have a fun story to tell. ¬†I also think its important to get children to try new flavors and experiences early and allow them to develop and open mind.


7 – Increase your plant consumption.

Outside of the westernsaving money on food produce world, meat and dairy is a real treat and I mean a real treat! Don’t get me wrong, meat is my favorite food ever and if I could eat it at every meal I certainly would. I remember when I was a kid, i’d always save the meat for last and savor every bite. Mmmmm protein…..But really, dietitians are right when they say we don’t need as much as we think we do. ¬†If you look at other cuisines around the world, meat is not the main focus, most of the bulk and tummy fillers come from vegetables, legumes and starch. Asian cultures go as far as to say as the rice and noodles are first and everything else is an accompaniment. Rice, lentils and beans are super cheap (you can even afford to buy them organic), and they provide a very rich nutrient profile. Most of us westerners are not used to eating this much fiber, so unless you want to be skywriting your name is the sky every minute and alienating people around you, cook them very well and even consider sprouting before using in recipes.


 8- Meat and Dairy

It’s no secret that meat and dairy can add a huge amount to your weekly grocery bill and the solution is obvious….buy only on sale. I have a favorite yogurt brand that I adore, but I refuse to pay $1.50 a cup for it, so I’ll buy it when its under $1 and get a couple weeks supply, also, consider making your own, it’s extremely cheap and easy and without any additives.

If you want to save money on meat you have to be vigilant and flexible. Instead of buying your usual cuts, look whats on sale and improvise. If a recipe calls for ground beef, buy ground turkey or chicken is on sale, then buy that.  Also consider buying meat in bulk and freezing it. Its helpful to have meat in the fridge when whipping up a quick dinner.



9- To coupon or not?

I don’t do a lot of couponing because I don’t buy (or recommend buying) a lot of processed food. ¬†I try and keep away from the middle¬†rows¬†of the supermarket and shop around the edge, but coupons have a valuable place in budget shopping, especially if you have a family and buying in bulk. It’s great for disposable items like cleaning supplies and toilet paper, but remember before you embark on a new couponing regiment, keep in mind the time and energy you are spending in this pursuit, and make sure it’s worth the net savings.


10- Caffeine.

Yup I like fancy fu-fu coffees as much as the next person, but are they really worth nearly $5.00 a pop? nope! ¬†These should desaving money on food coffeefinitely be put in the ‘once in a while treat basket’, and our daily caffeine needs should be made up of more humble options. I know people who spend $10 a day on coffee. That’s $3,650 a year! urgh! what an absolute waste….

I purchase a $7.00 bag of coffee beans every 2 weeks, grind them and make individual cups in my Keurig and its actually quite nice.  You get the fresh made coffee taste for only a few cents per cup.

Energy drinks also make for really expensive urine. Try brewing fresh ice tea or coffee and taking a natural energy supplement.



11- Alcohol

Alcohol is cheapest at the big national discount chain stores and online, but don’t forget the 6-pack mix and match deals at local supermarkets. ¬†You can get 30% off already discounted wines and beers when buying 6 or more. ¬†If you are interested in purchasing wine by the case online is a great place to look, especially when individual wineries have sales.


12 – Dining Out

I usually try and save my restaurant experiences for when i’m on vacation, it adds something else for me to look forward too, plus eating out all the time is no good for the waistline or my wallet. Most restaurants add salt, sugar and fat to make their food extra yummy and that I don’t need in my diet on a regular basis. Plus I like to cook for myself so I know exactly what i’m eating and how much. If you do decide to eat out regularly use coupons, look up the menu online first and give yourself a budget, go during happy hour, and don’t be afraid to ask what’s in your food and how it is prepared.


saving money on food cafe

13 – Entertaining at home.

This can be a much cheaper alternative to eating out but you have to be smart about it. Things can add up quickly and luxury artisan items can completely blow your budget. Ten items at $7.00 is $70! Look for recipes that taste great, but don’t contain any high ticket items, or consider buying one or 2 luxuries and serving them as a stand alone (e.g imported olives, cheese etc.)




So there you have it, great ways to save money on groceries and have fun in the process. Experiment, expand your mind and wallet and enjoy!








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