I've traveled a fair bit and noticed that Americans seem decidedly underrepresented in the backpacking ranks. By "backpacking" I mean young people (usually) who travel the world on a shoe-string budget, often for many months. I'm not talking about camping trips. Backpackers frequently do casual work from time to time to make ends meet. There are tons of Canadians, tons of Europeans, tons of Brits and a disproportionately large number of Australians and Kiwis out there backpacking. Young Americans are pretty scarce though, especially considering the population of the country. There are quite a few middle-aged Americans traveling around in a hotel-to-hotel, tour-package-to-tour-package kind of way, though. In Australian culture, traveling when young is encouraged and widely seen as a great way to develop a sense of identity, perspective and maturity.
I'm wondering if anyone else has noticed this and, if so, to what you attribute it?