There is nothing worse than being an American traveling around other American’s that are giving our country a bad name. We were in Venice, Italy eating at a sidewalk cafe and at the next table was a group of teenage girls. They were obviously on a limited budget as they were conspiring on how to get more drinks without paying for them. I was grateful for an experienced waiter who’s training and experience foiled their exploits. If he had not shut it down I am not sure what we would have done.
We then had a great conversation about why we travel the way we do. How we handle the money, dealing with people when our knowledge of their language is limited, AND how we want to represent our country while abroad. Common courtesy is the best plan even though for too many people it is not common practice.
We need to never forget that we represent ourselves and where we are from everywhere we go. Be it travel for business, errands, or a well deserved family adventure. How we behave when we are not at home says a great deal about our character. When we treat others as we want to be treated – even in stressful or unexpected circumstances – we maintain our own value and self respect. It is how we treat people who we will never see again that says the most about who we are inside. The big shot who needs to have it known that they are a big shot is a universal pain in the fanny no matter their country of origin. It is the best example of how not to treat others.
Traveling broadens our ability to see our own blessings and short comings. It gives us a glimpse into the rest of the world, a break from our own and the opportunity for new adventures. Being sure to bring our manners, our respect for life and others is the first things we need to pack. Forgetting that means the rest of the trip is doomed for drama and disappointment if only for those who encounter us as a fool.