The most provocative, intense and rewarding part of travel is culture shock and with the right mindset, it can be an engagingly thrilling ride.
I’ve been vagabonding and traveling the world non-stop for 4 1/2 years and this is only the 3rd time I’ve been back to the United States. However, at 11 1/2 months, it’s the longest between visits since I started my journey.
“Home is where I put my backpack down.”
That’s a quote I wrote 3 years ago, a time when my world travel and global culture experience was still far more comprehensive than the average person.
And now, even after so much more time and exploration, I still get culture shocked every now and then…
Sure, the long ass flight across literally half of the world along with severe jet-lag made me more susceptible to reverse culture shock, but it first hit me just after landing at LaGuardia International Airport.
I gather this happened for 2 simple reasons; everything was in English and so many white people everywhere.
Those 2 things triggered my “reverse culture shock” because I’ve spent the past year in Asia, where English is rare and white people, rarer. Now mind you, I’m a born and bred American, a New Yorker to be exact.
It was actually quite exciting, to get this feeling in my own country. But I didn’t like the shock of remembering how every is so much more expensive in the States.
Even the drive (that I’ve done many times before) with my friend into Manhattan elevated my reverse culture shock, simply because we were on the right side of the road.
I wasn’t driving but I did plenty of driving the last few months in Asia, all where you drive on the left side of the road with the steering wheel on the right side.
This uneventful but peculiar experience made me consider vagabonding America, to really explore my own country as a curious tourist, maybe I’ll stick around.