When a backpacker travels for a long period of time, experiencing the intricacies and unique nuances of another culture (i.e. partying, boozing, and sexing with foreigners), they can become so accustomed to this new culture that their home culture suddenly seems foreign.
Some people call this Reverse Culture Shock. I’ve got a different name for it.
I call it, remembering how lame America is.
Most of you know that I’ve been traveling for years, exploring and experiencing the Euro standards like London, France, and Spain, as well as getting off the beaten track in Serbia, Croatia, and Turkey. I’ve spent time in Israel and Malaysia, and most recently lived and worked abroad in New Zealand and Australia. And it never fails that every time I come home from an adventure abroad, I feel bogged down by a grass-is-greener feeling, like I’m missing out on something — something that was better about being overseas.
When I got off my flight from Australia last week and walked across the road to catch a shuttle bus to Johnny’s house, I almost got hit by a car. In my jet-lagged haze, I’d forgotten that for the last year and a half I’d been in a country that drives on the other side of the road. Now, I can’t say that one side of the road is better than the other, but this was just the beginning of a long list of things that made me really, really miss being on the other side.
In America, you have to tip the bartender a dollar for every drink. I mean, you don’t have to tip, but if you don’t, you’ll look like a foreign douchebag with no money or no class. So because that bartender did such a great job pulling that Budweiser from the fridge and popping the cap off, you’ll give her an extra buck to reward her for going above and beyond. Lame.
In America, you get charged sales tax. Now, most countries have sales tax, but in many other countries (including Australia and New Zealand), that tax is usually included in the price of the goods or services. So that means the takeaway shop’s $5 meal deal actually costs $5. Not $5.39, which is a misleading and stupid price and it just means that everyone has to carry around pocketfuls of nearly-worthless change. And that brings me to another point: Let’s get rid of the nickel and the penny already! They are worthless! No more small change. Sorry Abe.
In America, the measurements are stupid. Really stupid. We’ve all grown up with feet and inches and miles, so to us they make sense, but to the rest of the world, they are a freakin mystery. In fact, the only other contries that haven’t switched to the metric system are Liberia and Myanmar. Here in the US the only ones that measure weight in metric are the cocain dealers, why can’t the rest of America catch up? Land of the free, home of nonsensical measurement systems. I’m joining the USMA.
In America, everyone is American. Okay, that obvious, and I’m being stupid, but what I mean is that it can be really fun to stand out as the foreigner. Being the anomaly draws attention, and I’ve really enjoyed that attention. “Hello girls, I’m the new California boy in town, maybe you can show me around…” you get the idea. Here in America, I’m just another American. Thats just boring. And it doesn’t help to fuel my sex addiction. Lame.
Sorry to vent.
I really am glad to be back — It’s been great to catch up with some old friends.
I’m just still missing the other side of the road a little bit.