Native of San Francisco I identify myself as a Californian...but then I went to France and fell in love and after ten years, well my heart is still there but budget keeps me in Los Angeles.
Getting a passport and travelling is the best way to get to know yourself and the rest of the world--even if you only visit a small part of it.
Do be an informed traveller, don't expect things will be the same or that rules won't apply to you just because you don't want them to.
Read. Just because there's a lot of info online doesn't mean a good guidebook isn't an important investment. For 10 years I used Rough Guides and if I went anywhere now, it would be my first choice again...
And what you learn when travelling will enhance your life when you come home...if you let it.
Be courteous, be kind and be on time so you never know the panic attack that comes when you miss (or almost miss) a flight.