It’s been an week since we landed in my native Austria after eight exciting days in Hong Kong, a metropolis with almost seven million inhabitants that could house almost everyone in my entire home country (approx. 8.8 million Austrians). Before we landed in Hong Kong we stayed for over nine months in Australia, and even though we travelled within the country, it wasn’t the same as exploring a new culture.
You start using all of your senses again
When you set foot in a new country your senses are suddenly sharpened and you are more alert to what’s going on around you. Everything smells differently, people look differently and most of them seem to speak a different language. What are they are eating over there? Did you see this guy’s weird gadget? I can’t really put my finger on it, but when you are in a new country surrounded by a foreign culture you feel re-energized, everything around you becomes an adventure, even the usually boring task of grocery shopping. Suddenly you have no clue what most things looking back at you from the shelves are, and it takes you ages to pull out the right note to pay for your food. When you finally hold your items in you hand you have a strange feeling of accomplishment.
Apart from sightseeing you’re most likely doing similar things than back home, but ordering a coffee or lunch somewhere becomes the biggest adventure because this experience is brand-new. You’ve never been here before and you have no clue what to expect. Even if your pick wasn’t the best thing on the menu you’ll still appreciate it because it’s different. You are proud of yourself for ordering it, with the waitress that could barely say anything in English looking at you like you wanted her to make an elaborate wedding cake from scratch. You’re grateful for this little snack that sweetens your morning. So what if you just ordered chicken feet glazed with sugar (that’s not a real thing as far as I know). You’ll enjoy every bite of it thinking about the experiences that await you.
Immerse yourself in a new culture
Travelling is probably not as great of a passion for everyone as it is for me but if you have the chance to go on a little adventure, do it. It doesn’t have to be a yearlong trip around the world (apparently you can become a travel addict), a little getaway will already do the trick. And when you do get the chance to get out, throw yourself into this adventure, immerse yourself fully and enjoy with all of your senses.