Travel as a Cultural Act, Part 2

Back in September, I wrote about why travel opens up so many doors, especially regarding less represented cultures. The more I think about it, I realize that I left something out from that post. So, while I think the original post covered a lot of things, I neglected to mention that travel changed the way I viewed people from different countries. I wholeheartedly admit that I wasn’t mature in the past by holding certain preconceptions. (This is your cue to roundly boo me and throw tomatoes at me.) Now, the reason for this is that when you only know of a country from maybe one or two people, they make a big impression on you. Case in point: there was a Romanian guy who lived down the hall from me at college, and while he was undoubtedly smart, some of his personal habits soured, if you can call that, my impression of Romanians; I was a very shallow person not very long ago, and I completely regret that. Again, it was a very stupid and irrational thing, believing in that generalization. However, as much as I want to go back in time and kick past me’s ass for that, my trip this past summer absolutely destroyed those previous beliefs. Nowadays, I make sure to recommend Romania as a destination because it quite frankly is an amazing country with super warm people!

This story is the entire gist of my post-travel destroys, then rebuilds, antiquated thoughts/notions.  Lesson learned: don’t be that one guy making irrational decisions. You honestly never know what a country is/will be like until you travel, so for that matter, you should hold off on judgement until after the trip. Don’t be like me and make up stereotypes because one person you encountered twice a week was less than perfect. If you have and/or are falling into this trap, know that it isn’t permanent. We all make mistakes, and travel is one way of fixing them.

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