There have been a lot of new arrivals,recently, in to our little group in Paju. Some of these new arrivals, take the adjustment to Korean life really well. Others, not so well. As I get to know them, a common link appears. Those who do really well here and settle in well have travelled before. Those who require the hand holding and the guiding have never travelled outside of their home countries.
To hang out with these people makes for a very entertaining night. At a social gathering, the ones who have travelled will show up and despite not knowing anyone, will mingle and introduce themselves and talk about everything. Those who have never travelled, tend to wait on the sidelines and expect people to come over and talk to them. And when they do, the conversation tends to be limited. The Paddy no travellers tend to find it harder to trust and form friendships. If you tell them something, they’ll ask 5 other people the same question just to make sure that what you told them is true.
They also tend to spend their time continuing to live their lives as if at home. They consistently skype, moan about how much they miss their home comforts and see returning home for vacation as a good idea.
Paddy I’ve travelled are much more adventurous people. While they maintain a relationship with those at home, they always tend to travel Asia for vacation time and are more “go with the flow” people, their easier to hang out with and will laugh at their mistakes rather than panicking about them.
I once went on a vacation with a person who hadn’t travelled and a person who had. It was a 4 day vacation. I can say that we spent a great deal of the time on that vacation looking out for the person who hadn’t travelled. They just weren’t able to handle themselves. Constantly leaving their things unattended, wandering off without a word, depending on us for every little thing, not thinking for themselves. It was a complete nightmare.
All these things, for me, go back to travelling. When you travel, you instinctively learn how to do things. If you get lost, you get yourself unlost. You know how to take care of yourself in a foreign situation, how to take care of your stuff and it gives you a certain independence and confidence. Travelling and experiencing something different also makes you think differently. I can’t really explain this, I just know that it’s there. When you see other cultures and experience completely alternative ways of life, then that experience makes you change your thinking in a certain way. Travelling makes you open yourself up to new ideas and gives you the opportunity to learn.
Of course, I’m not saying this as a criticism, merely an observation. I realise that some people simply don’t get the opportunity to travel. Paddy no traveller, deserves a lot of credit for getting outside of their comfort zone and coming to Asia. And I’m also not saying that every Paddy no traveller is the same. Everyone is different, every situation is different but in general, the above observation tends to be true.