Cultural Awareness while Travelling

By Morgan Martin

 

 Cultural Awareness

“When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable”.
-Clifton Fadiman

Comfort Zone and Cultural Awareness

“Comfort is something that we seek out in our lives, from the clothes we wear to our everyday surroundings. When travelling abroad, it is natural to want to find those things that make you more comfortable; however, this is not always possible due to cultural differences. Furthermore, it is inherently difficult for most to seek out experiences outside their comfort zones and notably takes effort.
So why do it?

In my opinion, the times I have stepped out of my comfort zone and taken a chance have resulted in some of my best experiences. Most of all, choosing to travel to countries outside of my comfort zone has allowed me to learn a lot about myself.”

 

The Wayfaring Redhead

When I Became More Culturally Aware

“According to the Collins Dictionary,

‘Someone's cultural awareness is their understanding of the differences between themselves and people from other countries or other backgrounds, especially differences in attitudes and values.’

This does not mean you have to agree with another culture's beliefs, but by accepting their culture while travelling, you are allowing yourself to more openly experience that country and therefore its culture.

Cultural awareness is very important when travelling, especially to those countries which may be significantly different from your own. While travelling in Asia, in particular, I struggled to find comforts similar to what I have at home. It took me a while to realize that I wasn't comfortable because I wasn't meant to be.

I will admit, initially I had to actively remind myself not to judge these other cultures because they were different. Others are not any less human because they don't all have running water or because their food choices are different. My eventual realization of this and acceptance, I believe, is me becoming more culturally aware and accepting.”

How You Can Become More Culturally Aware

“So how do you apply this to your travels?
Open your mind.

Rather than saying, "it's not like that at home", use that travel opportunity to learn from and about others. There are over 7 billion people in this world with many different cultures and beliefs. This mere fact is what I believe is one of the most amazing things about this world.

Another thing I try to do no matter where I travel, is learning a bit of their language, at least the greetings. This goes so far to show you are trying. Trying to step beyond being just a tourist.

Overall, I have a greater appreciation for the other cultures I have experienced while abroad because I was open to learn about them. It is not to say that I agree with all other cultures but if their cultural beliefs aren't harmful to themselves or others, who am I to judge.

Although I have found that experiencing different cultures from my own has made me more appreciative of my own life.”

Written by Morgan Martin
-The Wayfaring Redhead

Morgan MartinAbout Morgan Martin

Morgan Martin, The Wayfaring Redhead, started traveling in high school and has never stopped enjoying seeing new places and having amazing experiences along the way. She works full time as a physician assistant in an ER, which helps her fund her travel adventures. Since finishing graduate school two years ago, Morgan has travelled to more than 10 new countries since, and she’s not stopping there!  Her goal is to travel a new country every year while documenting her adventures and advice along the way!
So whether you are wanting to plan a short getaway or a once in a lifetime vacation, you can find everything on her website: from recommendations of places to go, how to book and pack, and what to see and do while away.

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