Living in Los Angeles, Josh Duhamel sometimes feels like a fish out of water.
“You can take the kid out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the kid,” Duhamel, who grew up in North Dakota, tells PEOPLE. “I’m one of the only guys in LA who drives a truck, I think. I still drive a GMC that I’ve had since 2004. I’m never getting rid of it.”
The 11.22.63 star doesn’t just act like a Midwesterner; he thinks like one, too. “It’s in my blood,” he laughs. “It’s ingrained in me. My way of thinking is different sometimes.”
So how does that work with Fergie, his wife of 7 years?
“She notices a lot when the midwest comes out in me, and she points it out,” he laughs. “Because it’s just different. But she knows how much pride I have in North Dakota, and she loves to come home with me to visit.”
Duhamel tells PEOPLE that he wants the couple’s 2-year-old son, Axl, to understand his roots. “I took him with me this summer; he was two years old. It was an opportunity for me to spend eight days with him just traveling around. But I wanted to give him an idea of who I am. Where I’m from is part of me, so it’s part of him, too.”
“We got to see every single relative we have as we went through the state,” he continues. “It was a really special thing to share with him.”
It was so special that Duhamel decided to include Axl in some of the pictures for North Dakota Legendary, an ad campaign for the state. “We were taking pictures, and I was like, ‘bring him over here!’ And the photographer took some pictures that were so good that I have them up on my wall at home.”
Duhamel acknowledges that an ad campaign for North Dakota in February is an uphill battle, but he can’t stop enthusing about his home state. “I know the perception of North Dakota in the winter, but it’s really not what you think,” he says. “I love winter and all that it brings. There’s so much to do here.”
“And then North Dakota is beautiful in the spring and summer, with the wide open spaces and the big sky. It’s where I’m the happiest.”