This is our philosophy of culture and we think it’s important to consider before you take your next trip! You only live once, every moment is precious so we think it’s essential to get the most out of every second of every trip!

Travel should be a combination of adventure, relaxation, and education. You learn from traveling and it makes you a more well rounded person with a better world view. Take advantage of this! So to get the most out of your next vacation, consider these tips and you might see each place in a whole new light!

Why Embrace Culture?

Let’s start with this question. What is culture and how can it vary between different people? In short, culture is how people live their lives, it’s how they’re raised, it’s their general beliefs, it’s how they view the world, it’s what makes us all unique.

The belief that one culture can be superior is absurd because it implies that there is a set standard to judge one’s culture. Where is the bar set? Everyone starts with THEIR culture and that is the first problem. Judging something based on what you’re already accustomed to is judging one culture by the standards of another. Introducing that kind of subjectivity into your assessment immediately invalidates your claim because your standards are impartial.

One’s culture is a collection of learned behavior. In western culture, we are taught not to eat with our mouths full and to say “thank you” when we receive something. We are taught that at a young age, and as a result see that as a given. This is normal because it is what we’re used to, but should not factor into the evaluation of another culture, since (as a tourist) you would be lacking that context to fully understand the meanings surrounding their customs.

You Travel For Experiences

There are a few ways to see the value of traveling, but the one constant for all is perspective. There are people who visit things to say they’ve seen it, while others want to experience what the locals experience. It’s like a temporary pass that grants you to live another life (sort of).

There’s a certain level of excitement we get from going somewhere new. The culture and atmosphere that defines what people are about. Of course, people are products of their environment. It’s what shapes their upbringing and overall way of thinking, and that’s what makes us different on a level that is easiest to observe. But understanding the differences on the inside is what makes these experiences so unique.

What Does Food Have To Do With Anything?

Sharing a meal is virtually unmatched for a true, authentic traveling experience. Exchanging stories and comparing favorites can really form connections between people which tell us one thing. We’re really not that different.

But above everything else, food is something that contains our cultures and our stories. Each geographic location has more or less of certain food groups, and our ancestors had to make the most out of the resources that were provided to them. They passed on their favorite dishes down on to their families which represent traditions and a way of life. Each dish can contain a whole new flavor that can change the way you see certain food groups, whether it be from the ingredients, or simply the preparation. There’s a lot to learn from other cultures, especially on the culinary side and getting an authentic taste of as many specialties will only broaden your understanding of how others live and see the world around them.

Coming from America, we love a good steak house, but also understand that experiences come in all shapes and sizes. As much as we love the great American traditions, some of the best experiences we’ve had have been from unexpected places. Celebrations and unfamiliar traditions are things that we can feel and connect with on a far closer level than a plate of food.

Ok, But What About The Food That looks Weird?

Did you not read the title? Try ALL THE FOOD! Trying a new dish, no matter how weird it may look, or how strange it may smell gives you just a hint of insight as to how people live their lives. There are so many dishes from all over that we thought we would hate, and have grown on us to the point that they have altered our perspective on culinary.

Remember this. Every dish tells a story. A story of a family, or of a celebration among friends. Having a slice of New York Pizza is more than just the taste. There’s a story behind that recipe!

The worst case scenario is you try something and don’t like it. Ok, maybe the worst case is you try something you think you won’t like, and wind up hating it. That’s ok! That’s what an experience is, they’re not always perfect. Besides, you have to try a new things you don’t like, because they actually keep your taste buds honest. Exposure to more flavors of differing varieties will help you appreciate the subtleties that make certain foods and even spices so good!

Tourist Traps vs True Culture

Remember when we mentioned that there are two (typical) types of objectives when it comes to traveling? Let’s discuss the two and before we do, we should mention that going to “touristy things” isn’t inherently bad because not everyone has the same interests. When we say that, we just want to make sure that our readers don’t confuse the cliche tourist traps, with authentic trips for culture appreciation, etc.

What You Should Takeaway

Culture is not black and white and you can only get so much out of a visit to a new place. Visiting a new location is more than a vacation – it’s an opportunity to open your mind and live in
the shoes of others to broaden your perspective of the huge world we all share.

So start your day with a nice cup of coffee and go explore!