Standing out Abroad
Traveling to foreign lands is nice because you get to experience how others live. Additionally, you can get to participate and engage in cultural traditions that are much different from your own.
The problem is that when you are in other’s lands you are the foreigner. When I travel, I do everything in my power to blend in. Personally, I would not see much fun in traveling if I did not. There are some who do not feel the same or just do not have an idea about how to ‘blend in’. For those who want seek advice in that arena, I have compiled an article about it.
On the opposite spectrum, I have found that there are a few things you can do that will instantly make you stand out. You will sell yourself as a tourist or foreigner when you step out of the airport if you do any of the following.
- Speech. The most tell-tale sign of whether you are local or not is your comprehension and accent in the local language. The second you open your mouth you give yourself away. If you wish to stay somewhat ‘incognito’ minimize your speaking when walking the city.
- Act. Your actions are another big part of your ‘tourist identity’. People can look at you and tell by the way you move and know if you are local or not. This usually stems from the fact that you have less knowledge of the area so you may appear to be lost or unconfident. Hesitation is key here. To avoid this, carry yourself confidently with a purpose. If you get lost, find a secluded place to open your map.
- Dress. Lastly, the very clothes that you wear weigh somewhat heavily on how much you stand out. In my experience, because of our globalized world, this aspect became somewhat more flexible. People are dressing more similarly these days. Nonetheless, there are still some styles that no locals would dare to wear. The socks and sandals kick might just give you away :).
For more information on this topic please check my articles on cultural immersion.
Tell me what you think!
What has given you away in the past?
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