Cultural Adaptation Challenges

Cultural adaptation -  Thai traditional dance– A new look on cultural adaptation –

Many people believe that, when you live in a foreign country, you will never be fully accepted by the locals. Especially in countries with complex and closed cultures, like for example Japan or China. They think that it will always be you and them, no matter how hard you try to blend in.

Having lived in Asia for long periods, I also believed that. But then I read a comment from someone who considered this a weak excuse. He stated that people give up too quick. I started thinking about that opinion, and after a while, the thought slipped into my mind that it could be true. Did I complain too much in the past instead of taking more efforts to really become one of the locals?

Fresh impulses 

A lovely moment. Visit a new country and suddenly there is that feeling of excitement. You experience sounds, tastes, views and smells, which never before made a connection with your brain. You are constantly getting tickled by new sensations. However, the cultural sensations that you experience can quickly become numb if you decide to stay for a longer period. You might experience a stagnation in your cultural adaptation process.

Stagnation

Now that I am back in Thailand for a longer period, I start to notice a decrease in my interest level for its culture. I feel that my interest level reached a certain point and then slowly started to decrease, because the whole experience was not new anymore. Therefore, the longer I am here, the harder it becomes to dive into the Thai culture with 100% motivation.

Once I learned how to get around in Thailand, I basically stopped learning and showing interest. I do not often visit cultural sights anymore. These days I am working at my laptop most of the time. A downgrade for my offline social life. The number of Thai people I met also declined. As well as my excitement to meet them. To keep things short, it was time for a change.

A cultural adaptation boost

I was looking for a deeper cultural experience, as I did not want to have the feeling that I could be anywhere in the world. So I decided to start a cultural adaptation challenge. People say that learning the local language is the best way to bond with a foreign culture. Language is indeed important, but there are other interesting methods as well. So I decided to raise the bar a little higher.

What I want is a 100% involvement with the culture of my guest country. I try to accomplish this challenge by only eating Thai food, watching only Thai movies, reading only Thai books, listening only to Thai music etc. By doing this I will also quickly increase my knowledge of the Thai language, so it is a win win situation. Use this fun method if you find it hard to learn a language.

An amazing journey full of new discoveries

The result of my effort is an amazing journey full of new cultural discoveries. I am now having much deeper cultural experiences because of these discoveries. It is a whole new journey that requires no need for relocation. I like that because I will be stuck in Bangkok for a while. Now I can still travel this country but in a different way. I am making a fascinating cultural journey.

Side note

This challenge is a lifestyle experiment that I created to get out of my comfort zone. However, as it involves everything that I am doing on a daily basis, I find it important that it stays a fun challenge. I am not going to eat food that I do not like or listen to music that I hate, just because it needs to be Thai.

To tackle this problem, I choose Thai equivalents for the things that I already like. For example I like dance music, but it never crossed my mind to start looking for Thai dance music. The same thing counts for Thai books, movies etc. These Thai equivalents make it easier to deal with the difficult challenge of a 100% cultural adaptation. Otherwise, I will quickly return to my old habits again.

Thai statue in Grand Palace

Are you up for the challenge?

Are you interested in (Thai) culture related subjects or do you also want to tackle this challenge? Make sure to read all the upcoming posts about my cultural experiences and discoveries. I will share new discoveries about books, music, movies etc. on my blog, in my newsletter or on any of my social media profiles. So make sure you also sign up to my mailing list, or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

How do you usually try to adapt to a new culture? What methods do you use to make the integration process as smooth as possible? Do you believe you can fully adapt to every new culture? Share your views on this subject, and let me know if you got inspired by my culture challenge.

Useful links

 

The Liebster Blog Award – Why You Should Accept It

My Liebster Blog Award logoWhy you should be happy with the Liebster Blog Award

Recently, I received a nomination for the Liebster Blog Award. I did some research, and I found out that some former nominees did not like to participate in the nomination process. Although this is their good right, I would still like to encourage everyone to accept this price and pass it forward. In this article I will explain why you should always accept the Liebster Blog Award nomination.

The Liebser what?

First let me give you a brief explanation about the Liebster Award. Bloggers will nominate other new blog writers, who, at their turn, pass the love forward again. Some people think it is a sort of chain letter, and that is probably the main reasons why it is not always positively received.

1. Readers get to know you

The person who nominates you will ask some questions about your blog and/or your life. This is a good opportunity to tell your readers a little bit more about yourself. People love to get to know the person behind the articles. Besides that, maybe it is even your first interview. How cool is that!

2. Blog recognition

The one who sends you love will put a link to your blog on his or her website. Same goes for the people who you nominate.This is a part of the procedure. You have to thank the blogger who awarded you. Currently you have to praise five new bloggers after receiving the Liebster Award. So in the best case, there will be six new people who refer to your site.

3. Connecting with other bloggers

Are you usually busy with your own blog? Receiving the Liebster Award is a good incentive to have a look around at the websites of your fellow posters. You have to nominate five new people, so grab that opportunity to discover interesting new blogs. Now you will focus on other writers instead of your own. Maybe you even become a fan of the newly discovered blogs.

4. Credibility indicators

Congratulations!! You received an award for your blog. How amazing is that! Some people do not take the Liebster Blog Award very serious, but there are always others who acknowledge the benefits. Some visitors will trust or admire your blog when they see that it has been nominated for a price. Rewards are nice credibility indicators. People like to see those things.

5. Suport new bloggers

The best aspect of the Liebster Award is that you get to help new bloggers. All these benefits that I mentioned, will be given to them as well. Forget all the negative Nancy’s who say that there is no real reward. These five points are nice benefits. They will hopefully give the newbie a lot of motivation and a jump start into the blogosphere.

How would you respond if you received a Liebster Blog Award. Would you exept it or ignore it, and why?

Useful links

The Liebster Award Nomination

Receiving the Liebster AwardThe Liebster Award nomination 

Bloggers Lindsey and Ash, from Mundo Trundle, where so kind to nominate my blog for The Liebster Award. It is my first blog award nomination and I would like to thank both of them very much for providing it to me. It is an honor 🙂

What is the Liebster Award?

Bloggers can nominate new blogs for the The Liebster Award. The purpose of the award is to promote the websites of those bloggers and learn more about them. Although I do not really qualify as a newbie, I still feel very exited about receiving The Liebster Award 🙂
 
 
 
 

The rules

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you, and include a link to his or her blog.
  • Provide answers to the eleven questions from that person.
  • Give nominations to other bloggers, who have less than 500 Twitter followers.
  • Ask them eleven new questions.
  • Let them know about their nominations, so that they can proceed with the award process. 
  • Jesse Logister Designs

My answers

These are my answers to the questions from Ash and Lindsey:

1. Did you ever visit a country you didn’t like?

No. I never completely dislike a country. There where certain aspects about some destinations that I did not particularly like, but so far there where always other aspects which I enjoyed. Also, good travel companions can make any trip worthwhile.

2. Do you prefer to travel when it is hot and sunny or cold and snowy?

In general I like warm countries. However, now that I am living in Thailand I often miss the rain, changing seasons and snow. For me, the ideal travel situation is a moderate climate.

3. What’s your best travel memory so far (if you can pick just one!)?

That is a difficult question. Over the years I have gathered so many amazing memories. One memorable experience was the road trip I did with my dad in New Zealand. A truly beautiful country. There I had the privilege to jump out of an airplane on a super bright day. An unbelievable adventure, and I am proud that I could experience it.

4. What’s your biggest travel regret?

I do not have many regrets when it comes to traveling, besides from the fact that I did not travel more. However, I can solve that problem in the future. I made many mistakes during my travels, but I learned from all of them. It made me a more experienced traveler and human. So I see my mistakes as blessings.

5. Do you prefer long overland journeys or quick flights? Why?

It depends on the reason why I am traveling. Recently I prefer quick flights, but in the future I would also like to focus on slow and long travel over land. I would like to make some long train journeys for example.

6. What’s your creature comfort when you travel?

Water. Can’t go anywhere without it 🙂 Ah and good walking shoes. I love to walk around a lot and get lost. So the shoes that I am wearing are very important factors for my well being.

7. What’s your first travel memory?

When I was young, me and my family always went camping in France. I miss those times.

8. Have you ever taken a course abroad?

I have followed a diving course in Ko Tao (Thailand) and a first aid instructors course in Bangkok (Thailand).

9. Where are you right now?

At the moment I am in Thailand. Me and my partner Dianna live in an apartment in Bangkok.

10. What do you miss most about home?

My friends and my family. It would be great to see them again and spend time with them. Me and my nephew11. Where are you headed next?

We will most likely move to a Greek island next year. I am really looking forward to that. Greece is a beautiful country with a lot of history.

My nominees:

  • Ultimate Aberration: The blog of stand up comedian Vinay Menon. I choose his blog because Vinay is a great guy, who writes in a very unique and humorous way. I really like his articles and his writing style.
  • Josh Voydik: I met Josh a while ago, when he couchsurfed at my place with his friend Casey. I like the way he looks at live and how he describes his thoughts. I hope he will write more articles 😉
  • ‘Livin’ Pura Vida: I got interested in Christina’s blog after reading her comprehensive post about New Zealand. We both skydived at NZone. I also speak highly of them 🙂 Cristina seems like a very adventurous person and her blog posts are fun to read. She has a bit more then 500 followers, but I guess I can also break the rules a little bit.
  • Travel Tip Girl: Laura also has a bit more followers then 500 but I would still like to nominate her, because I enjoy her writing style.  She is a new blogger who deserves this nomination. I hope she will continue blogging in her own unique way.
  • Worldly View: Brenden Palmer provides useful travel information in his posts. He writes about subjects like: how to do laundry when traveling or how to find cheap flights anywhere in the world. I like to read more of this blogger. A nomination is at its place.

My questions to them:

1. Which travel destination would you recommend to others?
2. What is the most crazy thing you ever did on your travels?
3. What scares you the most about traveling?
4. What motivates you to travel?
5. Which country do you want to live in, if you can choose?
6. Who is the most inspiring person you ever met during your travels, and why?
7. What was the most valuable lesson you have learned during your travels?
8. What is the strangest destination you ever visited?
9. What is your favorite language and why?
10. Who is your favorite travel companion and why?
11. If you had a million dollar travel budget, where would you go?
 

I am exited to read all your answers 🙂
 

4 ways to get in contact with locals

 

4 ways to get in contact with locals. For example by engaging in sports activities with them.4 ways to bond with locals

Your trip becomes a total different experience when you get in contact with local people. They can provide you with “expert” information about their country, and you will often be surprised how friendly and hospitable they are compared to people who work in the tourism business, who often seem fatigued about foreigners.

Once in contact with locals you will notice that many of them are really friendly. They show a genuine interest in you, are willing to give you advice and love to tell you about their culture. However, sometimes they are too shy to approach you. Here are 4 ways to overcome boundaries and get in contact.

1. Sports

Recently, when I strolled along the bedding of the Mekong river in Laos, I was invited by some local boys to join their football game. I never reject such an offer. It is a great way to get in contact with local people. A fun aspect about sports is that it does not necessarily require you to talk, so for some people it it a more easy way to be in contact with you.

Shyness disappears and there is a lot of fun involved when you are playing a (football) match with each other. A park is a good place to get in contact with local people who are playing sports. While traveling in Southeast Asia I noticed that a lot of people come together in the parks, to do sports activities like aerobics, running and playing badminton. Good opportunities to join them.

2. Language

Try to learn some words which exceed the standard tourist lines like thank you and hello, when you travel abroad. Many locals really cheer up when they notice that you talk to them in their language. Often they are to shy or unable to speak English. Having some small talk with them in their own language is a great way to make them feel happy and at ease.

3. Music

Many people love to dance and sing songs. A really nice way of bonding and sharing a cultural experience is by playing music with each other, but if you do not play an instrument then try to join them in other musical activities like karaoke, dancing in clubs, or partying in bars.

Dancing can take away boundaries because it is a physical activity, so language is not that important. Singing songs together also can be a lot of fun. Many people know English songs even though they do not speak the language, and listening to songs from the country that you visit is a nice way to learn more about the culture of your destination.

4. Couchsurfing

If you want to have a great local experience then I recommend joining the Couchsurfing community. Couchsurfers are people who share their home with travelers. Couchsurfers do not stay in a hotel/hostel but instead choose to stay with a local. It is a great way to get to know more about a country and culture, because your local host is an expert on the subject.

Get in contact

Remember to get out of your comfort zone when you want to get in contact with locals. Usually they are eager to talk and bond with you, but often the are to shy to actually approach you. Be the first one to take away that boundary and you could have many wonderful experiences with locals.

Do you often get in contact with locals? How do you usually approach them? What was the most memorable experience you had with a local?

 

Article promo video: the joy of giving

This video is created during the Christmas holidays. It is a short promotion video for one of the first articles I wrote on this blog. The article is called the joy of giving and describes how giving and sharing can have a positive effect on our lives. You will feel rewarded yourself if you provide others with gifts.

Your experience

What was the most memorable gift you ever gave to someone? How did it made you feel giving something special? Leave your interesting responses in the comments section below.

Links

Related articles
[catlist categorypage=”yes”]