Traveling has always been a sacred routine for me, just as it’s a time of pleasure and wanderlust. Truly, it’s a grand time to be unwinding from life’s pressures and to be seeking out your soul, but respecting it is equally important. Here are my top three travel rules which I personally abide by and why:
1. Represent your home
Look, it’s a no-brainer that the passport you’re holding represents where you’re from ---- if not your country, then your race. The moment you step out of your country is the actual event of you being an ambassador because anywhere you go, you are branded. You are branded by where you’re from and ultimately, it becomes your very identity. I mean, realistically, in a travellers’ domain, may it be the airport or a famous tourist attraction, with a melting pot of cultures, how else are you to be identified?
I hope we take it upon ourselves to behave appropriately and to honor our country and race as a noble duty. It seems this is something we take for granted. When we leave the comforts of our homes, not only do we take with us the manners, morals and beliefs of our families, but as well as those of our heritage. How you are outside of your country will significantly impact how foreigners see you and associate you with the rest of your nation. A little mistake from behaving inappropriately while traveling can greatly inflict or magnify the negativity imposed on your country. Is this really how you want to bring honor to your heritage? It may not be that big of an issue for those countries with already established notions, those of which are predominantly positive, but not for those who have a derogative identity to redeem as good. As for me, I believe in bringing honor to my country even in the little acts of putting my best behavior when I travel.
2. Respect the culture
Just because it isn’t valuable to you doesn’t mean it’s the same for their culture. Each culture has been constructed, refined and established from generation to generation, based on a set of principles and beliefs that are in sync with their heritage. There is historical significance and value in that, whether you choose to see it or not. The whole point of traveling, after all, is to inculcate yourself in a culture different from yours. The least you could do, as a tourist, is to respect that.
Disrespect of culture often roots from a lack of understanding. Be responsible enough to get yourself informed and to not be ignorant. If you’re staying in a relatively laidback country, you’re still considered lucky if all you get are weird stares and rude smirks, but if you’re actually in a rigid country with high regard to tradition and values, know that there are consequences of your actions. Please don’t be reckless. Again, this goes back to my first point of representing where you’re from. If your goal is to seek thrill or to capture the "perfect gram", do you really think that culture inappropriation is the way to go?
3. Dress approriately
The reason why I make the extra effort to dress up when I travel is simply because I believe that dressing well is truly a form of manners, as is when I’m at home in my Motherland. I prefer to be dressed best when I mingle with various races, when I go on tours to see great locations, when I meet family from different parts of world, and when I indulge in authentic cuisines. Dressing well is a way of extending myself to the different people I meet, the different localities I visit and the different cultures I’m exposed to. I dress properly and descently because I have regard for the country I’m traveling in as well as the country I'm representing. It’s a simple way of enmeshing good representation and cultural respect to a personal level.
This entry was obviously written with an agenda and I do hope we see traveling from a different perspective than just fleeting enjoyment. Not that I’m saying traveling should be perceived as a set of strict guidelines, but I strongly do think that it is very important to keep a sense of duty and integrity when we travel. It’s not about being an elitist, but being a good ambassador and bringing honor to your country. I personally can vouch that you can have the time of your lives whilst you remain responsible in your travels.
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