8 Deeper Reasons to Experience Another Culture
Originally posted at: https://aprilsylvester.com/home/2018/2/14/uplalu74okror3cyc8s48113yl60gs
I know you have done it. We all have. Scrolled through Instagram liking all those pristine pictures of adventure babes with big boobs and small waists perched atop a mountain overlooking a gorgeous valley in a nondescript but beautiful part of the world. And you think “I want to do that too.” Granted, pretty pictures are great. Looking hot in them can be even better. But the best thing cannot be captured: relationships and people.
Okay okay. Don’t throw tomatoes at me for being cheesy just yet! Just think about it. What was your favorite part about your last trip? I’m gonna bet it wasn’t the photos.
Take, for example, my recent trip to Denmark. One of my favorite parts was meeting a kind (then) stranger who offered to take us on a bike ride around the city. Sure I have a few blurry iphone pics, but the real experience is all mine to savor. And I got a friend out of it too!
People are the things that enrich travel, not photos. And getting to interact with people all over the world is one of the biggest perks of traveling!
We conceptually know that there are people out there that live and think differently from us, but our sense of “normal” is based on what we are used to right? Anything else is “weird” or (worse) wrong. I don’t have to tell you that Americans are infamous for this kind of attitude. But here is the key to this sickness: knowing…really knowing…people that are different from you!
I have some really awesome friends here in Zambia, but it has come with work.
For example, Zambians are very conflict avoidant whereas Americans like to hit things straight on. When I have had conflict in the past, I tried talking about it and it usually is very uncomfortable for my Zambian friends. So I have had to adjust my tactics to more relational and round-about ways. But because we have been through those patches, I understand my Zambian friends better and vice versa.
I know what you are thinking “Uh oh. That doesn’t sound good.” And you would be correct. This one usually happens when things go wrong. And things go wrong a lot when you are in a different country. It goes to reason that when you are not familiar with a place, you don’t know how everything works so things are just bound to not go according to plan. You will miss the train. You will get lost. You will say the wrong thing. But, hun, it is alright and life goes on. All of my fellow expats will agree with me when I say, flexibility is the only attitude you can hold if you are going to survive! And—bonus– it will make you a happier, less anxious person too.
Babes, this world is so beautiful! And there are so many people and places and landscapes and events that we could have never imagined back home that just radiate that beauty. Living abroad has opened my mind to so many different, beautiful things!
I never used to listen to Afro hiphop music before I moved to Zambia. In fact, if I did I don’t think I would have enjoyed it. But just like fine wine takes time to appreciate, the beauty of music and fashion and architecture take getting used to as well.