I'm American and I drive a manual. Not gonna lie, when I drive my girlfriend's automatic occasionally it feels like pure luxury but I wouldn't daily drive one. Manual is so much more fun.
Like you said, one of the problems is learning how to drive stick in the first place. It can be hard finding someone who owns a manual, and even then they may be unwilling to let you learn (and potentially fuck up) on theirs. So if you have a manual, don't be that guy! Let people learn on your car and spread the manual love.