Learning about New Cultures: Ask More Questions!

Ethical Travel and Zero Trace Travel

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There are thousands upon thousands of unique and thriving cultures in the world, and there are thousands of those who have been forgotten or lost to the passing of time. The culture you choose to embody, embrace, and welcome into your mind, body, and soul will greatly define your present and your future.

In most cases, a lifetime is not enough to truly experience a culture that defines a nation, region, or cultural heritage. However, you can certainly immerse yourself in the history, teachings, and customs of your local cultures, and those from around the world with time and dedication. You simply can nurture a strong desire for lifelong learning and devote your time and willpower to truly embrace that which is not inherently yours.

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“My feeling about seeing the world is that it's going to change you necessarily, just the very fact of being out there and meeting people from different cultures and different ways of life.”

Ewan Mecgregor

Reading, listening, talking, partaking, and socially interacting with people from other cultures is essential if you want to take an insightful and profound look into their way of life, and hopefully, learn what makes a culture that is different than your own customs and behaviors.

Here are some of the best ways to learn about and wholeheartedly embrace new cultures:

Do your research

Charging into unknown territory without a sound plan or even so much as a whisper of what’s to be expected can not only leave you frustrated and untouched but perhaps even worse, in a load of trouble. People from different nationalities, no matter how close or how far, take offense differently, and you can never be too careful in trying to be respectful in your conducts .

The first question you could ask is not directed towards another, but inwards. What are the basics of this particular culture do I serve to understand better to be able to embrace the next step in my journey?

The first step is thorough research.

Luckily, there are plenty of contemporary methods you can use to your advantage to learn about different cultures. Concretely, the internet is your best source of information. Not only can you read up about the culture that interests you in online archives, but you can also go a step further and follow social media networks and Facebook groups from that region. Be sure to also join forums and discussions where you can ask the most burning questions, while also gathering visual information from YouTube videos.

One of the largest limiting belief of travel is almost always shelled in a single notion: money. To travel, you need money, and usually, plenty of it. Fortunately for you, a digital nomad living in the 21 st century, there are numerous budget and low-cost ways to travel the world, from a student discount to a flexible after pay holiday or special last-minute or first-minute deals, and all sorts of travel-hacking knowledge out there. This is the best time to travel the world easily, quickly and comfortably, so make sure to plan your trip well in advance.

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Reassess your core values

Different cultures have different dominant values – your way of being could completely differ from someone else’s. Therefore, it would be unwise to venture into unknown regions, nations, and cultures with a prefixed mindset. This way can lead many towards disillusionment and confusion.

It serves to ask yourself what are the core values that have shaped your beliefs and perceptions, without which you find it hard to imagine other ways of being. It takes a lot of time to break the bonds of heritage and culture that have shaped your very existence, and no matter how much you consider yourself to be a child of the universe, unbound by mere human doctrines, you are still
a product of your environment.

Once you step into a different environment, the rules of life will change, and you will be the Outlander. Shedding your values, beliefs, and preconceived notions of right and wrong allow you to embrace the core values that await at your destination. This perception shift enables full immersion in that culture completely.

Traveling will change you, and that is AWESOME!

The only real and by far the most exciting way to experience other cultures and absorb yourself in the livelihood of completely different nationalities is, of course, to meet them in person. Whether you go there for a series of short trips, constantly coming back for more, or you choose to call the destination a new home for the foreseeable future, spend some time surrounded by the language, art, history, and customs that define that nationality.

This next step is exciting and life changing and, therefore, utterly frightening. However, fear and excitement can be two complementary feelings, creating the comprehensive cocktail of emotions that serve you in order for your trip to be a brilliant cathartic experience.

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Once you’re there, use your accumulated knowledge to engage yourself in the local community and culture, conducting yourself according to their customs and habits. The worst thing you can do is forget what you’ve read about and ask a provocative or insulting question in someone else’s house. And we can safely assume that as a nomad, you won’t be staying at hotels or resorts ;) 

Asking questions is the best way to learn about others. Questions can be structured in a way that will not only give you the best answer but establish a friendly relationship with your interlocutor as well.

Moreover, you could partake in local events and happenings! Take up a local job, volunteer, do humanitarian work, travel the land, do whatever it takes to experience that culture in its raw and purest form.

Sipping a cappuccino at a café overlooking the Great Monument of King Taksin is may not be the best way to get to know a certain culture... but it is a way;) 

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Make Lifelong Friends.

Finally, some friendships are meant to last forever. Wherever you go, wherever your heart leads, you can and will establish lifelong friendships with the people you meet!  Maintaining perpetual correspondence with the people you’ve met is not so difficult either- it is simply a matter of commitment. Exercise it wholeheartedly, and it will become a loving habit you can’t do without.

Learning about new cultures, sustainable travel

if you succeed

in building lasting friendships with anyone on your journey, you will inadvertently strengthen your bond with that culture as well, making it forever an indelible part of your true authentic self.

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Life is a supply of cherished memories portraying the times we spent with the people who've shaped our hearts and minds-our invaluable connections. 

Experiencing the intricacies of different worlds is one of the true ways to find your place and your true purpose under the stars. Rather than asking yourself what life is all about, ask yourself where you can find the people that give it its unique, silent meaning. As a nomad and a soul who has devoted their time on Earth to growth, knowledge and inner peace, you only serve to pose new questions to yourself, and then follow with more questions to others. Never stop learning, and you will have your answers.


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