What Happens When You Travel

Have you ever wondered why it feels so damn good to travel? Even when it’s within your state, you feel revived and inspired with a greater consciousness of your current life. It’s a unique indulgence and in turn addiction, so you keep doing it and taking opportunities to travel. In addition to that, you feels the further away from home you go, the more mindful you become.

Anyway, I’ve found that journeys like this lead to a few big questions, one being: what is my country’s culture? Better yet, my city’s culture?  After experiencing many other cultures, I’ve discovered I can only identify and understand my own culture’s qualities by contrasting it to others.

An example: one element of Italian culture is their impeccable ability to never be on time. To an American, this is blasphemy. A blatant sign of disrespect; some people even get fired over it. But then you ask why it’s considered rude, and realize it’s because being precise & punctual is an important part of American culture.

Another example: most people in Spain dress-up & look fashionable when they go outside. You never know who’s looking so why not look your best? But here in the Northwest, many young people dress not to impress, but for comfort: college-branded sweatshirts, New Balance sneakers, lose jeans or gym shorts, and all of these usually don’t match. To a Spaniard we look scrubby, but to us we look just fine.

THIS is the power of traveling. You understand your own culture by seeing how the traditions and customs of another culture differ. And then it only gets more enticing, when you take all the cultures you’ve experienced and start mapping & testing what other cultures could be like. Will Greece be very forgiving with time like their Italian neighbors? Do Canadians wear baseball caps to cover bed hair like the Americans next door? Sometimes the answers yes, sometimes no. But the more you venture, the more you know.

~JK

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