We don’t want to be tourists. Tourists snap pictures of the famous landmarks, point at the locals attired in their traditional clothing, and never really engage with the culture. Tourists may roam the world and not remember much of what they saw, unless they pull out the photos on their cameras and phones. If we’re going to be anything, we strive to be like the locals when we travel. But you can’t expect that you will integrate seamlessly into a local’s daily routine in a matter of weeks or that you will know everything about the culture after digging into a few guidebooks.
Being the culturally sensitive traveler that you are, you may have pored over destination blogs and immersed yourself in movies or documentaries in the weeks leading up to your trip. Despite the steps you have taken to gain an understanding of the culture you are going to visit, you will make cultural blunders. Maybe you’ll use the wrong greeting or forget to leave your shoes at the door, but things like this happen to the best of us. You’re not a local, and that’s okay.
There are so many vagabonding adventurers who choose not to take any steps toward cultural understanding whatsoever. If they plan to stay on American-owned and operated resorts for the duration of their stay, that might work. But if they have even the slightest inclination to leave the familiar and engage with the unknown, a Google search of the culture is a bare minimum requirement.
If you are taking those steps to appreciate and understand the local culture, your experience traveling will be enriched dramatically. The vast majority of people will recognize and appreciate your efforts, rather than pushing you away for not behaving exactly like a local.
You aren’t a perfect traveler and no one expects you to be. So long as you can roll with the punches and be respectful of the people who live full-time in your travel destination, you’ll be just fine.
Now is a time to stay at home.
What a wonderful world! And what in the world do we do now? Heed the messages to self-quarantine so we do not spread this virus to others who are more vulnerable than ourselves.
You are not alone; the entire world is going through this. My thoughts…..One day we’ll be listening to songs on the radio about where we were during coronavirus. The COVID-19 virus is this generation’s 9/11. Both events have had global impact and changed the way we go about everyday life.
A cheer erupts as the crisp, white double doors open. The music that had been previously contained within the room suddenly spills out, bass pounding down the otherwise silent hallway. I walk forward and I’m greeted by enthusiastic women on both sides of me; some give high-fives, others give hugs, all of them wear beaming smiles. Am I at a concert? Some sort of pep rally? No, it’s just the opening day of the Book More Travel Workshop.
With the month of December coming to a close, the new year is right around the corner. Although any time is a good time to start anew, there’s something about January and the beginning of a fresh year that feels like the right time to get an early start on goals or make the change you’ve been thinking about for months. In 2020 where does travel land in your list of goals? Maybe one of the ones below will resonate with you.
Levels of Travel
If you’ve been following along with the Life’s Journey Travel Instagram or Facebook page, you’ll know that we’ve been focused on solo traveling lately. If you’ve never gone on a solo trip, you may be curious as to why someone would want to set off into the great unknown alone. Or maybe you have some ideas why, but you aren’t sure how. We have answers.
Author: Debra Harris
As founder of Life’s Journey Travel, I’m deeply passionate about creating custom travel experiences that allow my clients to truly savor the journey.