- Centurion Member
- Posts: 1468
- Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:20 pm
- Location: United States
Moment of Honesty:
International travel used to freak me out.
My wife is the one who loves globetrekking. She wanted to share her trips with me.
Before her, I'd been to CancÃºn and Canada - not the most challenging travel. We started with Spain and Switzerland. Europe is relatively friendly for American tourists because we share many cultural traits. Spain was easy because I speak the language. And, plenty of people speak English in Switzerland.
Our next trip was to Tokyo. That was more of a challenge and I went into it with a bit of apprehension. We were immersed in a completely foreign culture with little to no local language skills. I managed to pick up some Japanese phrases pretty quickly. The language just sort of made sense to me. We also discovered that people are generally pretty helpful, especially if you look lost. All in all, I think we were able to at least process Japanese culture and work within it, even if we stuck out like sore, white, thumbs.
China was even more of a challenge, both linguistically and culturally. Mandarin is extremely difficult for a western ear - at least, that's my excuse - and it took a while to get used to the different cultural norms. We still were lucky enough to find some very helpful, bi-lingual people who probably saved a couple of days of our trip from disaster. By the end of the trip, I was at least able to argue with cabbies in Mandarin.
After all that, I don't think I'd have any trouble, now, flying anywhere on the globe and getting by. In some cases, I'm even more relaxed and comfortable than my wife.
So, your idea to slowly build yourself up is not a bad one. However, each step needs to push you a little. I don't think travelling to another state is going to cut it, unless you think you'd consider New Orleans or San Francisco to be a foreign culture. (You are from NYC after all.) England is an easy first trip, especially from the East Coast.
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