The Truly Weird of Traveling
Put aside the PC for a moment, some things are just weird. And in travelling you’re bound to meet your fill of them. Try and chalk it up to cultural differences all you want but somewhere deep inside of you, just to the left of the part that tells you which fork to use for dessert, you know you’re witnessing strange in all its strangeness.
Take this for example.
That’s weird. Not expressive or significant or profound. Weird.
If you were back in your own country you’d have no problem calling it as you see it. You’d laugh, point and jeer if you’d a beer too many. But when you’re travelling you try your best to be open-minded. You think about what you say before you say it in the name of being a humble traveler. Labeling something weird doesn’t fit in your watered down vocabulary. While at home it’s ok to judge, abroad you are shy about your own opinions. You worry about offending some offense you don’t understand. Like a lame break up line, you think it’s you not them.
This isn’t bad. Being a global traveler does require patience, respect and an appreciation for sitting back and observing. But your travels also involve YOU. That means you can still have opinions and even speak your mind now and then. Chances are the locals around you also think it’s weird.
You do your hosts and yourself a disservice by assuming they have no sense of humor, no sense of taste or distaste. You miss the point if you really think other places in the world are without their weirdos. Traveling lets you take in the world. You come to understand that things operate differently depending on where you are. You learn that your hometown is not the center of the universe after all. But you also learn that at the core of things we humans are a fairly homogeneous species. Each place has its version of the popular trend, the work ahead of its time, the wide spread jokes and the inside jokes. And each place has its weird.
Some parts of travel don’t need analysis. They don’t need a philosophical justification or four-syllable word adjectives. They might not inspire you to spontaneously dance across the street. All over the world – from Cape Town to Beijing – there are things that should be taken at face value and appreciated or rejected based on that value.
Some things are weird.
What are some weird things you’ve encountered in your travels?