Regional Culture Shock Series Overview
As cross country movers for over fifty years, there’s nothing that shocks us too much about how different life can be in various parts of the United States. But for our customers all over the nation, moving to a new region can be quite the culture shock.
Moving from a New England town out to the West Coast and worried about having to buying a surfboard? Relocating the family to the South East but unsure if you’ll have to deal with alligators on your door step? Or just not sure if you’ll end up confusing your new neighbors in the Midwest when they offer you a pop and you request a soda?
Culture shock in the United States can be a real thing, especially when leaving one region for another that’s quite a long distance. Our country boasts a wide variety of different cultures within its borders, sometimes even in a single city, and coming into contact with a new one can be exciting, yet intimidating.
To that end, this blog series aims to educate readers on the big differences through the U.S. while also highlighting the many subtle similarities they all share.
Editor’s Note: Regional areas and their borders are subjective, and many could debate bordering states and the region to which they belong. We chose a map with nine territories we felt were distinct and served the purpose for those who are considering a long distance move.
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
Culturally, the New England region boasts some of the most decorated professional sports franchises with the Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox and Patriots, and the fans have passion to spare. Aerosmith, Phish, and the Pixies all hail from here, and between the historic architecture and the skiing, the place can be wonderful for outdoor activities and quaint city charm.
If you’ve never been to New England, a few rules to observe:
- don’t knock on anyone’s door during a Patriots game
- get your coffee from Dunkin Donuts and your ice cream from Ben and Jerry
- enjoy the outdoors before winter shows up
- go to bed every night with the knowledge that Stephen King and his creepy stories reside in this region.
- New Jersey
- New York
The Mid-Atlantic region has a noted reputation of being home to 30 professional sports franchises in major leagues and for appearing as the backdrop for every other American-made movie not set in Los Angeles. The area also boasts some of the most well-known cities in the country, including Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New York City, so you’re going to have to learn how to hail a cab or Uber while yelling your conversations over the traffic noise. You’re going to need a good winter wardrobe, but thankfully not one that makes you look like an extra on Game of Thrones (you wear that if you move to New England).
- South Carolina
Known for iced tea, grits, and frying just about anything, the South East states boast generally warm and muggy climates, ready access to either the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico, and the habit of combining words like “y’all” and “yes’m.” Southern hospitality is a real thing, and it will be on full display with large events like Mardi Gras and St. Patrick’s Day or in the surprising depth of history and culture offered in cities like Birmingham and Savannah. And don’t worry about the wild life; animal control usually gets to them before they jump in the pool.
- North Carolina
- West Virginia
Because the Appalachian Mountain range runs through several states, the Appalachian Highlands region could include several states listed in other territories. Depending on where you travel to, the Appalachians will offer startling views, cold mountain rains, and a general sense of serene elevation to disguise the fact your nearest neighbor might be on the other side of a mountain. A rustic exterior displays a culture that embraces white water rafting and zip-lining while hiding artisans and musicians in broad daylight.
- New Mexico
It’s rodeos, country music, and football as rustic meets cosmopolitan in the South West, where you may feel like you’ve just entered another country rather than crossing a state line. Within the four states one finds the smokiness of the South mingling with the frontier spices of the West. The two flavors create an area that manages to incorporate the future with modern cities like Dallas, Houston, and Tempe, AZ, while somehow maintaining a sense of old-century charm. At the same time, a large influx of Mexican and Hispanic culture help create a sense of warmth and comfort that can make these states festive, fun and family friendly. Get ready to eat a lot of Tex Mex, which is like Cali Mex with more steak.
The Pacific Coast states enjoy a reputation of being mostly progressive, outdoorsy, and generally more relaxed compared to the rest of the country. Also, it’s weird; Portland’s motto is “Keep Portland Weird.” As the birthplace of Starbucks, the region features a strong coffee shop culture (open mic performances and black java), which can be a good place to sit and get to know the area inhabitants while hiding from the rain. But don’t let the rain discourage you; in addition to boasting a large amount of environmentally friendly cities, the region makes use of many outdoor activities including hiking, surfing, and biking. And you’ll get to experience Cali Mex cooking, which is like Tex Mex with more herbs and vegetables.
If you’re relocating to the Mountain areas, it helps if you like the outdoor life. The mountain areas are famed for their geography spikes – flat plains one minute, giant snow-capped mountains the next, and a variety of hills and dunes in between. And don’t be fooled into thinking that hiking, camping, and skiing dominates the outdoor activities in this area; hunters and fishers will also be at home in the Mountain areas. Thinner air and thicker boots will come into play, but the scenery alone may be worth it.
In all of the areas featured in these blogs, no place seems to prompt greater culture shock than the Midwest states. The Midwest region is famous for referring to “soda” as “pop,” actually experiencing all four of the seasons as Mother Nature intended (Snow! Spring Flowers! Manageable Summers! Honest-to-goodness Fall!), beach trips that involve going to a lake, cheese curds, and so much corn. Don’t be fooled by the stereotypes of the Midwest being sparsely populated by farmers and Native Americans; for all the reasons listed above, the Midwest region remains one of the most unique in the country.
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
The Heartland States make up the area of the U.S. completely landlocked from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Sometimes referred to as the Flyover States, the term refers both to a region considered to be the center of the country and celebrates a culture that embraces values like hard work and simplicity. Those “Amber waves of Grain” we sing about in our National Anthem come from The Heartland.
In the coming weeks, the blog will go in-depth on the culture of each region, providing our readers with a primer about life in these very different parts of the United States.
Editor’s Note: Yes, you’re right, we did not include our breathtaking state of Alaska, our tropical paradise state, Hawaii, or our beloved Puerto Rican territory in the Caribbean. For this article, we focused only on the drive-able states to move to within the nation.
Photo Credit: A special thanks to Learner.org for the helpful pictures. To learn more about the regions here is a link to their website.