Today I was asked what I stand for.
I wrote quite a list but the one on the end that surprised me was ‘I stand for travelling the world and interacting with other cultures’.
Now obviously I know I like holidays, who doesn’t?
But it is more than that – I love travelling. And I do see them as two slightly different things.
When I am ‘travelling’ I am exploring in a different way to just rocking up on a holiday with a beach towel.
I am working out itineraries, finding the best route through a country, moving location every few days, picking up information on local customs and traditions, finding marvellous trips and sights. Just fully immersing myself (except the language sadly).
To me, travelling is not sitting on a beach on a package holiday. There is nothing wrong with them per-say, but I am not very good at them. I am too melty and get lobsterfied in a nanosecond. And they just don’t have the same level of wanderlust for me.
Luckily my chap is the same. He is generally not to be found lounging in the sun or getting sand between his toes.
How does this relate to my work?
Also, as societies have become so multicultural, and I am often working for international clients – travel gives me a greater understanding of factors in my work that may affect end users.
A colour that might be mean one thing to us but have negative implications to another nationality, a word that may be confusing as it can have multiple meanings (the English language is terrible for this – right? Or should I say, correct?), an image that may be fine for us but be inappropriate in another country, the many phrases ingrained in our language that are not understood by non-native Brits.
Also, I really enjoy working with people from other cultures. It provides a certain richness to an office environment.
(And, by Jove, I love an accent).
Our next adventure
I booked our 2020 holiday over Christmas. We are off to Romania. 95% of people I have told have asked ‘errr, why?’
I say, ‘why the hell not?’.
Given the choice between exploring the castles of Transylvania, Dracula’s lair and multiple beautiful national parks, or frying on a beach, I will take the former any day. And I can’t wait to see the cow parade in Sighisoara – where they literally wait ’til the cows come home’ for their tea.
God knows why.
I will find out and let you know.
Getting screamed at (the first of 3 occasions on this particular trip) in a Moscow cathedral by a hysterical Russian woman. Apparently, the sign at the door (a hat with a red line through) meant men should take their hats off, but not women. How was I supposed to know that? Translated I think her tirade meant “get your bloody hat on, you buffoon”.
Getting screamed at (Moscow: episode 3) to “shut the door or the gangsters will come in” upon entering the hotel. It was above a brothel to be fair.
Being abandoned by the tour guide in the CuChi tunnels in Vietnam – who scuttled off with his torch, leaving me at the front of the group in pitch-black tunnels. I emerged, covered in mud and dust, gunning for him and swearing like a sailor – having head-butted the ‘roof’ and broken both my sunglasses and a strap on my rucksack. Whilst the little Chinese lady in all white and high heels at the back emerged impeccably spotless with not a fluster.
Being run over by a bull in Spain. And no I don’t mean an actual cow-type thing. I mean 2 men in a fricking suit who thought it would be funny to knock me over and sit on me. One was not amused. I’ll have to be on guard at the cow parade.
Having a huge allergic reaction to a tuna sandwich up a mountain in Vietnam (clearly a place of trials for me) and trying to find out what was in the damn thing – to have a 10-minute hyperventilating exchange with the chef who thought I was complimenting him on his cooking. I never did find out what the hell was in it.
Nearly getting my eyes gouged by a koala in Brisbane who didn’t appreciate the heatwave.
Nearly getting my eyes gouged out by a sleepy sloth in Budapest Zoo when I approached him (at head height sleeping on a heat vent) exclaiming my love for him. He did not feel the same.
There are many more. I may have to write a book about it all one day.
But that will do for today’s humiliation.