When in Rome

By Eireen Manikan

Being a part of the tourism industry, which I love so much, has given me ample exposure to all kinds (almost) of well-travelled people. There’s one who only goes to places that offer adventure tourism (trekking in Cambodia, playing with elephants in Vietnam, diving in our country and nearby), another is a couple who love to go to cruises and have spent wonderful days aboard large ships going to Europe and South America, some have visited major cities in every continent and there are those who just make it a point to go out of the country every year and go to others haven’t been to. So let me just give you my definition of well-travelled. I think it’s those who have been to at least 2 continents and a minimum of 10 countries (or more) just enough to say they have witnessed far varying cultures and cuisine and experienced time differences that also affected their body clocks.

Now why am I interested in these kinds of people? I noticed that they have certain behaviors or attitude I like and would want to have too.

  1. They are adventurous. This one’s a no-brainer. It is their zest for experimenting or exploring new things that make them travel in the first place.
  2. Highly conversant. They engage you with such suave and class you would be surprised how little you know of Tanzania except for the exciting things they tell you. They won’t think twice in telling you wonderful things about places and what to look out for.
  3. Perfecting politeness. They have flawless executions of being polite, from being respectful about your background/culture to inquiring about your place and sincerely showing interest.
  4. Best humor. They are funny in a classy and “clean” way and will always have humorous stories of when they first had “balut” or got lost in the streets going to Notre Dame.

And I attribute these attitudes to a reason or two. First, it is their wide exposure to various cultures and people that have made them enlightened and know that the only way to reach a new destination is to be kind, nice and engaging. Second, they developed a knee-jerk suaveness about everything and anything because at this point…what else could go wrong? I was almost stomped by the wildebeest in Africa and survived; almost fell off a mountain in Guangxi and survived; or ate something unimaginable in Southeast Asia and survived!

Though my opinion is stereotypical, it can’t be denied that experiences like that are the right backdrops for living with positivity as a theme. Maybe they are just thankful of their opportunities that they know can’t happen to everyone. Maybe they are humbled by the realization that they are truly just a speck in a great world.

Which brings me to my self-reflection mode with questions I hope I can answer soon:

  1. Do I have to be well- travelled to be perfectly polite? Extremely engaging and fantastically funny?
  2. What experience have they told that I can’t find on a video or read about? Since I can’t afford to go yet.
  3. May I begin by channeling my own positivity to them and absorbing and learning from what they share without judgement and being sincerely happy for them and not envious?
  4. Though not as well travelled as some people I know, why not try being inspired by some of that cool vibe these people have for the good of humanity?

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