We've all had that feeling when we first arrive in a new country with a new culture.
It's not exactly shock, but it's pretty similar. The phrase 'same same, but different' just doesn't cut it sometimes. You know when you go to another place and you see things that are like home, but, well, different. This could be something as small as how people queue, how people order their food to the more obvious differences like language.
But this is one of the reasons travelling is so rewarding! The fact you can easily jump on a train or plane and travel somewhere completely different to home in a matter of hours (or minutes in Europe!) is one of the undoubted perks our generation.
And to top it off, travelling is good for you. It broadens your mind.
At home we naturally surround ourselves with people we like. Which means that at home we live in our own little bubble which we have carefully cultivated from our first friend to the current day. It makes sense - why would you surround yourselves with people you don't like who say or do things you don't like?
This means you subconsciously ignore or dismiss anyone or anything that threatens your current comfortable outlook on life and the world.
When you travel, you don't necessarily have this luxury. You may sit next to someone on the bus or train who might think Death Metal is the pinnacle of culture. You might share a room with a traveller who only reads Russian literature. You may be somewhere where the local's only eat with their hands. The toilets could be completely different to what you're used to....It's a collision course for meeting people you wouldn't normally socialise with and immersing in a different culture than you're used to.
This act of meeting and getting to know people from different cultures broadens your mind to things and experiences you don't get at home. It helps remove what some researchers have called 'habitual closed-mindedness'.
Travelling and immersing in a different culture when you travel may introduce you to your new favourite meal, book or way of thinking. We've lost track of the things we have learnt or done on our travels which we now integrate into everyday life - and we're sure fellow travellers will say the same thing!
If you're umming and erring about joining one of our immersive experiences in Europe because it's different, this shouldn't be a dissuasive factor - rather it should be the deciding reason!
Do you agree that getting out of your comfort zone is one of the best things about travelling? What's the best new thing you have discovered on your travels?