The light is low and the back wall lit in vibrant colors, the vodkas and tequilas shining onto the patrons like beacons in the lonely night. The taps at the ready and the incoming customers even more so. A solo traveler strolls through the curtained entrance with a breezy smile, surveying the room in search of the ideal resting place. Settling on the bar top, front and center, the first objective is ordering; it’s always easier to approach your neighbor after that first sip.
With drink in hand, a smile in tow, and a quick turn to the right she has caught the man’s gaze. The initial questions are answered – names, occupations, origins and soon others fill the small hostel pub and the pair in their introductory conversation. What was once a group of random strangers is now a team for the upcoming pub quiz. A travelers pub always has a light atmosphere. Perhaps it is the curious nature of its inhabitants, this keenness to learn about their fellow adventurers rather than shoot down anything new or outside of themselves.
Culture shock is a disorientation during which a person needs time to adjust to a new surrounding or way of life; this new culture should not be something that we look at with horror or fear but simply as different. Our eyes need to be opened to differences.
The first step is acknowledgement.
We cannot cast out something unlike ourselves for fear of the unknown. How am I to know that my eyes are blue if I do not see that there are brown and green to compare them to? How am I to know who I am if I do not know what choices there are to be had?
The second step is acceptance.
These shock will fade, the new lifestyles will become ordinary. It’s funny how when something becomes part of your every day it goes unnoticed. New York City dwellers walk past the Empire State building on autopilot while tourists spend countless amounts of money to visit from miles away to take one simple picture of it. The only path you control is your own, what surrounds it, what path others take is their own prerogative. Once we realize this and accept it, harmony becomes that much easier.