Four days ago, I lay curled in a ball on an airport couch in Serbia, peering out the window at the tarmac. I was dazed by the journey that should have been a mere two-hour flight, knowing it would take an entire day. It’s times like these that my inner curious self kicks in. She reassures me of what I’ve seen, and that what satisfies my inquisitive self is most definitely worth leaving my Airbnb at 5am on 1.5 hours sleep for. Content with this assurance, it led my mind to counting the key lessons I’ve learnt since leaving Australia in January. Sometimes I don’t notice these lessons until someone throws a statement out there that this year has taught me to beg to differ. And I remember that not so long ago I too had a similar stance.
Over the next six weeks, you will be hearing about the six lessons that have resonated in the back of my mind as I’ve continued my travels.
Lesson One – Just because it’s different, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
Sounds pretty simple, I mean from a young age we’re taught not to shut down one’s opinion and force down your own. However, I’m not talking about whether you prefer a flat white over a cappuccino – though don’t get me wrong, I’m a little disheartened that I can’t tell the baristas in Germany that they’re wrong for not putting chocolate on top of their cappuccinos… There you are, a little light-hearted example. Just because we make our cappuccinos a certain way in Australia doesn’t mean the Germans are wrong for making it differently.
As humans we’re accustomed to a way of life that Mama and Papa taught us growing up. That way of life may be the ‘normal’ in our Country, but that doesn’t mean it will be the same story across borders. Our country taught us in which lines between we should think, talk, react, and present ourselves, and that differs immensely from the classrooms across the pond.
I’ve been to countries where it’s encouraged to dress conservatively from head to toe, and I’ve been to countries where laying on the beach stark naked is pretty mundane. I think it’s fair to say that my little land of OZ sits somewhere in between, whereby it would be a shock to see me lazing around, melons out, but at ease in a tiny Summers dress. Women that come from diverse walks of life define beauty differently. Some are empowered by nudity, some are empowered by their talents, some are empowered by their conservative nature. Here me now when I say that it’s not your place to tell her, that her ways are wrong.
This is only one example that receives a stark contrast in opinion I hear everywhere I go. A matter of difference is also applied in the ways in which we carry ourselves, the family values we hold, and the attitudes we have on many societal matters.
Our cultures differ vastly on appropriate standards, and as I continue to hit new countries on my list, it increasingly appears how important it is to respect the way in which your hosts live. At the end of the day, it’s the perspective of right meets wrong that separates us. Though we don’t need to perceive life in the exact same way to be compatible, it’s just a matter of accepting that different isn’t wrong, it’s just different.
All in all, my lovelies – before you state a scene is wrong because it’s too different, remember it’s simply different to what you’ve seen.
Next week will bring Lesson Two!
– Haylee x