Since I have traveled around the world a decent amount, I am often asked by my friends here at home, “What do they (people from other countries) think about Americans?” The answers and comments might surprise you.
Keep this in mind: The greatest gift of traveling is getting to know new places and people in an authentic way—and to maybe even make some friends that will last your whole life.”
First and foremost, almost universally, anyone I have ever met and had a meaningful conversation with, loves Americans. I try to distinguish between their love of Americans, and a big fat tip, of course. But in general, we, whether traveling with Sheri or with Mike, or by myself, are welcomed and shown respect.
Second, they know we are big tippers, and as a result, they try to please us. They don’t expect the big tip just because we are Americans. They know they will be rewarded for their services. Contrast Americans to other countries, like Japan, where tipping is not practiced. When people from Japan travel, they are often met with both great disappointment, and sometimes animosity due to their country’s customs.
Third, they say Americans are addicted to their gadgets, like their smart phones. Well, after my last trip to Europe, so is everyone else!!! It was rather nice to see some tables of Americans actually eat their entire meal without their noses buried into their cellphones. And it is not just teenagers and Millennials, it is ALL age groups!
With the Presidential election coming up on Tuesday (Nov. 8), I did get many questions and comments about our candidates. Most universally, they expected our country to nominate better quality people than Trump and Hillary. They know we have quality leaders, though I explain the system to nominate them is broken. How else do we end up with a racist, tax evading billionaire, and a shady lifelong politician?
Fourth, we do need to tone down the way we dress, both in style and color. Loud colors stand out too much. They scream, “stupid American!” It is possible to remain stylish without the neon colors and designer clothing. They do look at women’s purses with special interest. They think a large purse means you are rich!!! Do you really want to be a target for pickpockets and thieves?
Fifth, our children actually behave better than other children travelling the world. Over the years, the most obnoxious are the French children, followed by the Japanese children. On one particular trip to Africa, we kept seeing the same short little French family at two tiny airports. We quickly labeled them “the family from hell.”
Sixth, take pride in knowing that Americans are always first responders, whether in tragedy or war. We are there to help before (sometimes ALONE) anyone else! Whether we send troops or relief aid, we are always there! And they appreciate it. It is a distinguishing feature of being an American, so be proud of it.
And PS: can the selfies, it is so yesterday!!!