Here’s a little secret people won’t tell you…
You’re not special.
You’re not important.
And that’s an amazing thing.
Because it gives you freedom to make mistakes and commit a faux pas and accidentally annoy the locals. But guess what… anyone you temporally inconvenience will forget you exist exactly 2.7 seconds after your paths cross.
Remember this. I promise keeping this mindset will make your trip much more enjoyable.
For example, during my first trip to Europe I was obsessed with fitting in and looking like a “local.” I read tons of blogs and message boards to make sure I knew what those fashionable Europeans were wearing.
Then I got to Europe… London, to be exact. I quickly realized that I was one of a few million people walking around the city. It was pretty narcissistic to think that people on the street would spend more than a nanosecond thinking about me and my clothes.
As I moved into non-English speaking countries I butchered the language. And you will too. Will some locals be a little annoyed that neither of you understands each other? Probably a little. But who cares. I guarantee they’ll promptly forget about you.
After living in New York City and Paris I’ve also experienced this issue from the opposite side. Nearly every day I come across people who don’t know the unwritten “rules” about living in the city, but I’m too preoccupied with my own day-to-day issues to dedicate any of my brainpower to caring.
So, my main point is: stop caring what other people think.
Maybe you’ll get a few funny looks.
Maybe you’ll hear someone huff and puff if you’re in their way.
At worst, they’ll say something in their language but you won’t be able to understand them anyways.
So get out there. Make mistakes. Look stupid. Butcher the language. Annoy people (on accident). Because it doesn’t matter. You don’t matter. You’ll be forgotten.
Enjoy the trip.
No Funny Business
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