How diverse is the United States? Unless you've been here, the best way I can think of explaining is it through the most common response I hear from co-workers and business partners that have visited from abroad. I've hosted and shown around people from South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Poland, France, China, and England. All of these people, after arriving at a relatively small, clean, but very modern airport, rode around in a car for 20 minutes to our offices. All in not just one state (North Carolina), but one comparatively small city. Without ever stepping out of the car for those 20 minutes they all inevitably have the same comment, phrased different but essentially adding up to this: "I feel like I went through three or four states. Everything is so spread out and compartmentalized." And that's immediately followed by "everything is so much bigger here" which I laugh at. Because this is North Carolina, an Eastern State. I come from California, on the West Coast. The Eastern states are comparatively puny in scale. But that's all without even stepping out of the car. And it makes sense. You step out of a really clean and modern, (and dare I say cool looking airport) and you drive off expecting to drive through a city. You are in the capital city of the state after all! Nope. You are on an interstate highway with nothing but forest around you. Miles and miles of forest. The only civilization is the massive 8 lane highway you are on. You are enveloped by trees on the sides. And this goes on for miles. In fact much of the first stretch of highway to your left is a relatively microbe sized state park...at around 20 km2 of nothing but forest and hiking trails. You cross a bridge and you see a lake, and if you exit off the highway at any of these points you find yourself on small town roads, that connect more towns separated by large swathes of forests. Among these towns you'll find towns that are pre-dominately black. Or good ol' Southern baptist white. Or Indian. On the way to our offices you cross into one of the larger of these towns, protected from the locals by, again, large swathes of forest. In this large town, suddenly everything looks very nice. Very polished. Very fancy. Very clean. Very...sculpted! You are surrounded by nature still, but nature is tamed, sculpted all around. And so for the next 10-15 minutes of your journey you are surrounded by a really lovely affluent town. Most here are Northern (from North East US)/Asian/Indian and very much not native North Carolinian. You arrive at our offices. Drive 15 more minutes by car, through more forests, some really lower-income parts of town and you end up at Downtown...which is relatively small. Civilization is very much strewn about in pockets between the vast wilderness. You can imagine how this layout might act to isolate and foster diversity. Within a 25 mile radius of where I work (20-30 minutes by car)...here's a sample of just how much diversity there is, if all you do is look and don't even step out of the vehicle. From farmland, to forests and national parks largely untouched by man, to lakes, to skyscrapers, to gothic architecture. From rednecks who can't tell you if Vermont is a state or in the "country of Europe", to meth labs, to the emerging capital of biotechnology in the world: And that's just driving 25 miles from east to west. And this area I'm now in is a relatively homogenous area. Go out to California and drive a few minutes..and well...let's just say things change a lot. The USA stretches 2500 miles from east to west. 1800 miles north to south. It is quite a wonder that this country is united in the least bit! If you stay on the Interstate Highway System, which is operated at the Federal level, America will look very unified. Very homogenous. The moment you step off...you will realize...just what a marvel it is that it can operate as tightly as it does. Also recommended to Steef and those curious about America: Stephen Fry in America. A documentary that'll give you an idea of what 'Murrica is really like.