It’s incredible how, once you’ve experienced a new country, you realise that the ‘world’ you’ve been living in is really, really small.
You might think you’ve been keeping up with world news, current events, the Kardashians, or whatever else, but still actually have no idea what is really going on outside the comfort zone of your own borders, TV, PC or mobile screen.
There is a big world out there and it’s sad that many people have no desire to travel whatsoever or aren’t interested in learning from other people and cultures. They are the ones missing out because there is nothing more enriching than that.
Even though cultures may differ in extreme ways, people are still people. Whether it’s catching the bus, sitting in a café or waiting for a train; watching people is probably the most interesting activity there is (not in a creepy way, of course).
It’s fascinating not only because it can be hilarious, but also because you realise that language, religion, sport, geographical borders, food and drink preferences, and habits aside, people are still people – desiring relationships, friendships, conversations, humour or even just a smile (once again, not in a creepy way).
Your home country, with all its issues, isn’t the only one with problems. We often hear that we should be thankful because, you know, “there is always someone else worse off than you.”
That is actually a truth you’ll only grasp fully once you’ve travelled. We’re not saying we only see people worse off than ourselves if and when we travel, but once you travel, you realise that spreading bad PR about your own country isn’t as easy as when you’re actually in your own country.
Language barriers, food, public transport: around every corner you’ll find yourself a challenge. It’s up to you how you’re going to overcome it. Travelling is not for the faint-hearted – and that’s exactly why the faint hearted should do it.
There’s more often than not some truth in stereotypes, so be ready for them. The best thing you can do when encountering a stereotype is to not get annoyed, but rather let them humour you. It’s an added, and usually funny, experience.
When travelling, it’s very much up to you what you get out of the experience. Learning some basic words and phrases in the local language will enrich not only your travel experience but your life in general.