Explore Your Hometown Like A Tourist
By Cheval John
Travel gives people the opportunity to explore a culture that is different from their own.
It breaks the preconceived notions of how people in a foreign country live.
Unfortunately, many only travel as a tourist to escape the rigors of work, especially here in the United States.
According to a report by CBS News, the average American only get two weeks of paid vacation time.
That same report by CBS said 25 % of Americans use the entire two weeks of their paid vacation time.
It is not surprising because we have the mindset of “Living To Work.”
We are really focused on getting the promotion we will sacrifice living just to achieve the promotion.
In reality, we were raised to believe that we had to go get good grades in school that we could get into college.
Once we get into college, we should choose the major that will get us that job and from there work until retirement.
We don’t think that it is possible to spend time in a foreign country and explore a different culture.
Another belief is that the only ones who could spend an extended period of time overseas are college students.
The truth is this type of lifestyle in overseas travel is open to anyone who really want to experience a different culture.
However, it doesn’t hurt if you start living abroad during your time in college.
According to the National Association of Foreign Student Advisors (NAFSA), 289,408 U.S. students studied abroad during the 2012-13 school year.
That is only a small percentage of about 18 million students who attends universities in the U.S. according to the Statistic Brain report.
What this shows is that if you studied abroad and are looking to enter the workforce or try to gain an overseas assignment with a company, you will stand out from the millions of people who did not studied abroad.
And if you did studied abroad or lived abroad, you will experience re-entry culture shock.
You will start to feel like things are boring in your hometown, will feel sadness because you can’t relate to your friends or family because they have not spent time overseas.
I can tell you that if you feel that way, you should try to find people who have studied abroad themselves and learned how they overcame re-entry shock.
Also, you can start exploring your hometown like a tourist.
You can visit the museum, attend a symphony orchestra concert, go to a sporting event, etc.
That will allow you to maintain your sense of adventure when you traveled abroad to your hometown.
I can tell you that while I spent three months in Chile, (the majority of the time in Vina del Mar), I walked around the city and explored it.
Prior to spending time in Vina del Mar, I had a preconceived notion that it was going to be touristy because the city is the tourist capital of Chile.
However, I was happily surprised that it was not too touristy because I had arrived during their winter time and the weather changed a lot like here in Texas.
After returning and experiencing re-entry shock, I decided to read up on stories of people who lived overseas.
I also realized that I could walk around the city of Huntsville, which is a small town, and get around easily.
Now that I am in the Houston area, I will aim to explore Houston as much as possible while I am here.
I know that I will learn something new about the city of Houston and will also maintain my sense of adventure for travel.
Have you studied, interned or lived overseas? If you did how did you overcome re-entry shock and how have you maintained your sense of adventure in your hometown? You can leave your comments below.
This post is in response to Natalie Sisson’s question, “What is the one thing you will do to make you feel alive in your hometown as a tourist #paraphrased as part of her “15 Days To Freedom Blog Challenge.”