|The loud, obnoxious, and demanding “Ugly American” seems far less prevalent than in the past. However, many of us still don’t have a feel for our surroundings, or know how to shift to match the rhythms of a place, or adjust our personal style to jive with the style of another country.
Even when we’re trying our best to fit in and be nice, you can’t get around the fact that there are a lot of us, and we are more affluent than the bulk of the world’s population, so there are a lot of us traveling. We tend to dress alike, and colorfully basic black just doesn’t jive with our Gap/Old Navy/catalog clothing culture. So here are a few tips to help you tread a little lighter, and leave the “Ugly” at home.
- Dress in an understated fashion, but be yourself. You don’t necessarily have to dress in black in Paris, but you may want to leave the “I’m with Stupid” tees at home.
- Don’t overplay your hometown, but if asked, be forthcoming and volunteer some information, with the understanding that not the entire world thinks your U.S. state is the center of the planet.
- Use your eyes and ears before engaging your mouth. Staying alert and attuned to everything going on around you is not only better style, but is much safer.
- Walking, or renting a bike for more range and mobility, puts you in the midst of the motion and rhythm of a place.
- Realize that just because something is different, doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Eating habits, religious practices, even the word for ‘soccer’ will shift everywhere you go.
- Try learning a few words of the language wherever you are, and remember, just because someone doesn’t understand you doesn’t mean they’re deaf. If you’re thinking, “man, this guy doesn’t even speak English!” remember, you’re the illiterate in this case! And be careful what you say; you never know who understands a few words of your language.
Source: The Independent Traveler
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Catch the wind…
Taste the rain…
And touch all of your tomorrows…