Life Musings, Travel Stories

Travel snobbery

  I´m sitting in a quiet corner restaurant in my scrubs eating dinner before my first overnight shift at the hospital begins. A boisterous group of gringos sporting a Texan accent arrives and sort of takes over the place. I flinch at their gregarious behavior, the way they wait impatiently to be seated. ¨Why are they here, what are they doing in Shell?¨ I watch as they tramp through the establishment, feeling possessive and a bit protective of ¨my¨ newly adopted home.
      I have often had a difficult time feeling this way when encountering other Americans during my travels. They are easy to spot. They are usually the loudest, plumpest, most casually dressed group around. And they come in hordes. Off the cruise ships and open aired buses to swarm around the tacky souvenir shops. I usually try to look the other way and pretend that I cannot understand English, that I couldn´t possibly belong among them.
     When I feel overcome with feelings of superiority (surely I cannot be as loud or   rude as my fellow compatriots), I try to remind myself of the times I have committed gross faux pas. There was the time my friend and I were yelled at in Italian by an old man named Gianni for passing by and saying ¨ciao¨ without stepping inside his art studio and ¨getting to know him as friends.¨ Or the time I was 19 and naive and went to a discotec in Mexico for the first time. I had way too much rum for my own good and made a noisy scene and poor impression on my Mexican friends on the way out. Or, more recently when I was convinced I was being conned by a man from the street pretending to be a guide asking me to pay more than I wanted for the entrance to some botanical gardens when really, he owned the place.
        This same freedom that allows me to travel as I please is also granted to others to do as they please and make their own errors in etiquette along the way. Maybe they´ll realize and learn from their mistakes, or maybe they´ll continue noisily barging through museums and markets. We are each rewarded for the effort and behavior we put forth both at home and abroad. And when I wince or shake my head at the actions of fellow Americans I must remember the grace that is extended to me when I mess up. Grace to receive and grace to give. Enough for us all.

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Kelly October 5, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Very humble ! I have to remind myself of the same thing sometimes.

    • Reply Mariah October 6, 2012 at 3:51 pm

      Thanks Kelly! It´s something I will probably always have to keep in check, reminding myself traveling isn´t a competition and no one is keeping score. Thanks for reading!

    Leave a Reply

    CommentLuv badge