I cherish and value a principle in my life. That is, “charity begins at home”. I strongly believe that travellers should explore their home country first.
Within every country on the world map, there is richness in diversity right from broad-based cultural nuances, language and accent diversity, lifestyles, to basic differences in culinary and eating habits. People in cities differ in more than one way from their village or country counterparts. As we travel across the length and breadth of a country, we are introduced to the country’s diversities of dialect, dressing or costumes, orientation to time, and many, many other such nuances.
To ensure a wonderful travel experience, it is important for a traveller to seamlessly flow with the differences and not stand out like a sore thumb. For this, any cross-cultural traveller needs to master the 3 R’s of interpersonal relationships. These are Recognition, Respect and Reassurance.
How does the traveller put these 3 R’s into practice? Well, firstly, he learns to recognise the fact that differences actually stem from adopting different value systems. Then, he strives to respect the differences, and finally reassures himself and the others around him that such differences are ok and are normal.
Although they look quite simple, believe me, the 3 R’s are difficult to inculcate and practice. A tremendous amount of emotional maturity and poise is called for to assimilate cultural differences.
All said and done, domestic travel poses comparatively a milder cultural shock. The in-country traveller can always take recourse to some commonality, which definitely exists amongst the people, given the fact that they do ultimately belong to the same country.
Domestic travel provides an expansive learning platform. It proves to be a huge learning opportunity to the earnest traveller. For me, domestic travel is like primary education and foreign travel is secondary education. Obviously, one needs to earn grades at the primary level in order to accomplish things at the secondary level. Domestic travel often becomes an eye-opener to the keen learner. All this learning definitely comes in handy when we shift perspective to foreign travel.
Foreign travel is a much bigger canvas. In this travel scenario, the differences that one encounters during domestic travel widen incredibly and often assume proportions that can rob the traveller of his true travelling experiences. To a seasoned domestic traveller, the culture shock would be manageable if not totally amusing. However, to a novice, the experience could be appalling.
We all know, travelling broadens the mind. This mindset needs to first evolve through domestic travel. Then only will international or foreign travel be a comfortable and enjoyable sojourn.
Well, go ahead and collect your credits at the primary level first and then have a grand passing out parade at the university level!