If there’s something that many people like to do, it’s to travel. Many often use up all their vacation time or save up their money to enjoy that fabulous vacation into an exotic locale. Though travelers may be prepared to bring their cameras and sturdy walking shoes to take in the sights, it’s also important to have an open mind when traveling. Be prepared for the cultural differences and sensory experience in traveling.
Traveling engages all the senses. One of the many perks of travel is getting to experience the sights, sounds, smells and flavors of another place. Whether it’s eating a hot plate of chicken curry in Bombay, enjoying the twinkling lights of the city of Paris, feeling the warm Mexican waters in Cancun or trying to bargain for some trinkets in Rome, traveling gives a person new insight into the way of life of the people of another land.
What is striking to many travelers is how different people are in other places. The physical appearance of the locals is readily evident. From the color and texture of their hair to the tone of their skin, build and various facial features, tourists oftentimes stand out like a sore thumb because of the physical difference from the locals. It may be jarring to see women dressed in burkas when walking the streets of Abu Dhabi, while others may find the scantily dressed women on the beaches of Rio quite scandalous.
Food is another area wherein travelers experience the differences in culture. It can be quite a shock to taste the heavy spices and use of curry in Asian cooking, while others may enjoy the various decadent desserts of the French. In fact, one of the most potent memories of traveling is just how delicious the food is in certain places. For example, no place serves the best croissants like the boulangeries in Paris, the most delicious pizzas and gelatos in Italy or the most mouthwatering dimsum in Hong Kong. However, enjoying the various flavors of the places visited is part of the enjoyment of travel.
Variances in customs are also readily evident when traveling. This is why it’s important for travelers to get to know a bit about the country they are visiting before going on a trip. For example, tourists may find themselves hungry and surprised to learn that restaurants in Spain don’t open for lunch till 2pm and many close shop to enjoy siesta till the late afternoon. Americans may find that shaking hands isn’t always the custom when meeting someone new, such as in Japan wherein a slight bow of the head is more de rigeur.
Appreciating the differences
While people’s appearances, manner of speaking and customs may be different, traveling gives people an appreciation of the uniqueness of individuals. Travelers may be shocked at many differences of people from other cultures, but it is comforting to know that the things people value are universal anywhere in the world – love, good food, friends, family and the value of life.