Because it has Disneyland and Universal Studios?
Yes, but we can go a little deeper than that. To be honest, I have never been interested in America. It’s just a country full of concrete and too much international media coverage, right?
Yet I’ve come to understand America more than I ever expected. Despite living in Medellin, I have spent almost two months working for the American company, Publicize based largely around the Silicon Valley work culture. Also, at the beginning of the year I spent three days travelling through California. So I’ve learnt a thing or two about a culture I have never been interested in understanding.
But really, I should have been.
You’ve all heard of CalExit right? If you haven’t ..well that’s not very Californian of you! What I’ve come to appreciate about California is how progressive it is. So what I mean by my last sentence -if you haven’t heard of CalExit, that’s not very progressive of you..
CalExit is an Independence Referendum that will be voted upon in Spring 2019 to decide whether California should withdraw from the United States of America and become its own nation. Supporters for this movement continually remind us: “As the sixth-largest economy in the world, California is more economically powerful than France and has a population larger than Poland. Point by point, California compares and competes with countries, not just the 49 other states.”
Yet, despite CalExit being relatively known, according to a Californian friend, it is most likely not going to go ahead.
So let’s move on to what I’ve actually seen, both at my workplace and on my car trip through California.
After a four hour hold up crossing the border, we leave behind Mexicali and enter Calexico. (Fitting names right!) It takes another three hours to get to Los Angeles, but along the way we pass quite a few wind turbines –
Sign number one that California is thinking about their future –clean, inexhaustible and cost-effect fuel sources to keep their country going.
By the evening we arrive in Los Angeles and plan out our next two days. What are the top tourist destinations in Los Angeles? You’ve got things such as the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Universal Studios, the Hollywood sign, Santa Monica pier… It looked like we couldn’t skip a visit to something Hollywood. So this is what we were lucky to see…
About the time we arrived, just after New Years 2016, the Hollywood sign read Hollyweed. Why? Because in early November the state of California legalised the use, possession, growth and sharing of cannabis. This is not saying you can walk into any shop and buy some marijuana, that’s still a little tricky. But you can carry some around without the fear of arrest. This leads me to reason number two that California is thinking of their future. After travelling through South America, I am for the legalisation of drugs, well at least marijuana. It can reduce crime and corruption, eliminate the criminal market and ensure the trade of better quality. It is still going to be consumed regardless, so why not create a safer environment.
Next let me talk about my Medellin-based workplace originating with Silicon Valley values. It’d never even heard of Silicon Valley before, but I should have and you should too -especially if you’re interested in the technological advancements of the global world and creating effective business. First up, Silicon Valley is home to Google, Amazon, Uber, AirBnb, and eBay. That already makes it pretty important. Successful businesses are flourishing in this business hub. Most of the clients at Publicize, looking for our Public Relation services, come from Silicon Valley. Based on what I’ve seen, they have a progressive attitude and are actually doing pretty well. This is my third point of how California is thinking of their future –they’ve created a networking community, employed tech savvy entrepreneurs and maintained an open mind.
The state of California holds effective energy, progressive laws and a thriving business district. I guess I was right, it is just have a big city, but it is a state with a big personality and one to keep an eye on, even if it is from afar or behind a computer screen..