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People Share Which Things Surprised Them Most About Visiting A Country For The First Time

People Share Which Things Surprised Them Most About Visiting A Country For The First Time
Eva Darron/Unsplash

The world is full of so many different cultures, ideas, and laws. Traveling to a new country that you've never been to can be quite a culture shock.

For those of us who haven't traveled overseas, it's interesting to know what might be shocking to us that is incredibly normal in another country. For those of us who have, this Redditor wanted to know what was surprising the first time you visited a country.

Redditor Spilakkk asked:

"What is the thing that surprised you the most when you traveled to a country you had never been to before?"

Some of these are quite surprising, and might bring a sense of longing to when it is safe for world travel once again.

Have a drink for the road!

"Probably in Germany when I bought a beer in a convenience store and they offered to open it for me so I could enjoy it on my walk."

- Jinjonator91

"Haha, the good old German 'Wegbier,' that's how we call it. It just means having a [beer] for the walk from A to B."

- kryZme

"When I went to Berlin this threw me off. My tattoo artist took me across the street and bought me a beer and then we walked around. It was such a neat experience. My fiancé was busy in a meeting that day so the following day I said hey look what we can do. And I bought us two beers and then I said now we can go walk around. She was so skeptical at first but then we walked around Berlin, drinking beer and taking in the sights. It was such a neat experience."

- jwatch04

"Honestly coming from Denmark I thought obviously having alcohol in public was allowed everywhere! Then I went to New York, wanted a bottle of wine for a nice dinner. Had to go to a special store, show ID (wtf, haven't done that since I was 15), and they wrapped it in the most shameful paper bag I've ever seen."

"It's honestly so funny to me that Americans talk about the right to own guns but they can't chill at a park with a beer. Overall great trip though, people are so nice!"

- Nylnin


"Just remembered, on that same trip when my boyfriend and I crossed over from Canada into the US at 4am we had to get out and get a visa, no problem we filled out the forms then came time for paying. It was like $14 for both of us, I instinctively pull out my card and the guy asked us if we were French."

"I responded we were Danish and asked why, to which he replied 'Well, French guys also let their girlfriends pay,' while staring down my boyfriend. I just looked straight at him and said 'Where we're from we believe in equality,' and he looked so flustered while his coworker was laughing his *ss off behind him."

- Nylnin

​New York is exactly what we expect it to be, surprisingly enough.

"New York is exactly as advertised... everything i see on tv shows and movies are exactly the same..."

"I've been to a lot of places but New York is the only one that is exactly my expectation..."

- titoxtian

"Does the pedestrian respond with 'HEY I'M WALKING HERE'?"

- Who_cares2905

"To which you hear a response of 'go suck a d*ck.'"

"True story and I completely agree, NY is as expected."

- neitdeRuyter

"I loved the fact that people do indeed curse loudly and friendly at each other."

"Someone crosses the road and isn't paying attention and someone else will stick their head out the window and shouts some colorful anatomy question regarding their head."

- smallfried

"The sheer amount of garbage on the streets in Manhattan was the really big surprise for me. No alleys, no dumpsters, and giant buildings, so they just put out huge piles of garbage on the sidewalks."

"Every other first world city I've ever been in, a good rain will wash the city clean and leave, at least for a little while, a fresh smell in the air. Not New York. In New York, a rainy day just washes garbage everywhere."

- hamlet9000

Best Excuses For Late Assignments That Were Actually True | George Takei’s Oh Myyy

Teachers have heard every excuse in the book from students who were trying to pull a fast one. We all know the classics: 'dog ate my homework,' 'my car burst...

People in Prague are polite.

"In Prague, when you open a camera in the street, it's like a force field! People automatically moves aside to not stand in the way."

- itamarc137

"I learnt this in Prague in 2008 and made it a habit. It's very polite and people look at me graciously when I do it everywhere."

- MrAvidReader

"Czechs are very polite, actually, in our own way. We scowl around, look like we are miserable all the time and will probably sigh loudly when another tourist asks where the castle is even though you can literally see it right there."

"But then, a mother with a stroller? Someone will help carry it up the stairs. People stand to the side of the escalators so people who have to hurry can run past. People stand to the side of the doors on any public transport so people can get off first, then they get on. Czechs are experts at CPR, statistically, Czechs give more CPR than any western country and we are damn good at it."

"There is a lot of stuff we are great at. Its not just beer."


Apparently there's scammers too.

"The strangest thing for me in Prague was how almost every money exchange store was trying to scam people by using horrible exchange rates. [I don't know] how these stores are still open."

- thimo50

"I'm pretty paranoid and have studied how scammers operate in every country and the one place where I traveled where I got scammed (but them I realized it and demanded my correct amount of money - while they pretended it was a mistake) was in Prague..."

- sexyshingle

Heated sidewalks in Finland

"Heated sidewalks in Finland! Absolutely life savers for me who had no idea how to walk on ice."

- momochicken55

Standing for the royal anthem.

"In Thailand we were watching a movie and they played the [royal] anthem and everyone stood up for their king."

- ihatepickingnames37

But that is changing.

"I'm in Thailand at the moment. There have been huge protests and speaking out against the monarchy for the past year or so (which is dangerous as it's illegal, with severe penalties). I went to watch a film a few weeks ago and only around half the people in the cinema stood up during the showing of the king's video before the movie (it's not actually the national anthem, just some rousing nationalist song with clips of him in ceremonial dress)."

"This may not sound like a big deal, but it was absolutely unthinkable, even 2 years ago, for half the people to show such disrespect and to remain seated during that part."

- odinelo

"Living in Thailand for 13 years, I can tell you the people loved their old king (King Rama 9) that sadly passed away. He was the most beloved person in the country. He had so many projects and undergoing's that helped the quality of life for so many people in Thailand. He was very connected to his country and people. I know for a fact everybody would pause and stand if his anthem was played anywhere out of voluntary action. I've never seen such respect for a king."

"On the other hand, his son, who is now the king of Thailand (King Rama 10) is much disliked compared to the other king due to his lifestyle and carelessness for the country. That's why they're protesting the monarchy. They know King Rama 9 won't be topped by any successors so might as well end it. I say good for them, they shouldn't be bowing to someone that doesn't care much for them."

- Samthefreerunner

Work really does end at 5:00 in Italy.

"A few years ago we went to Italy and I made my wife go on a side trip to Herculaneum and Pompeii for a couple days. In Herculaneum we were wandering around in town when 5:00 PM rolled around, and within 15 minutes the streets were filled with people, not hurrying past one another, but just standing around talking, having an ice cream, drinking a beer or whatever."

- axnu

"Ashgabat Turkmenistan - everything about it. The entire city (every building) is white marble. It lights up at night like a sterile Las Vegas however, there is no advertising except for billboards of the dictator holding onto puppies by the neck to show everyone how nice he is. He has pretty much positioned himself as a religious prophet. The airport is shaped like a massive white marble eagle. It used to be a red building but soon after it was built they tore it down and built a white marble one to match the current décor."

"Also there is no white marble in Turkmenistan so it has to be imported from Italy. They were the largest importer of white marble in the world and drove the price up so high it cost them ridiculous amounts of money to build the buildings. Strange strange place."

- shazam7373

One Reddit user created a list of a few of the interesting rules created by this dictator. We chose some of the most outlandish.

"Turkmenistan's post-Soviet history can be explained, in part, by their crazy dictator, Saparmurat Niyazov. Some of his decrees include:"

  • "banning the use of lip syncing at public concerts in 2005 as well as sound recordings at 'musical performances on state holidays, in broadcasts by Turkmen television channels, at all cultural events organized by the state... in places of mass assembly and at weddings and celebrations organised by the public,' citing a negative effect on the development of musical arts incurred by the use of recorded music."
  • "ordering that a 'palace of ice', or indoor ice skating rink, be built near the capital, so that those living in the desert country could learn to skate. The rink was built in 2008."
  • "outlawing opera, ballet and circus performances in 2001 for being 'decidedly unturkmen-like'."
  • "discouraging the use of gold teeth in Turkmenistan after he suggested that the populace chew on bones to strengthen their teeth and lessen the rate at which they fall out."

Prolonged eye contact.

"The amount of eye contact and observation. When I went to Morocco, in the evening the streets would be packed full of families sitting and talking. These people would watch each other, in fact even the way I'm describing it with 'watch' shows how unwelcome and uncomfortable it would be in England. People would also make eye contact and keep it frequently on the street, just with ease. It felt so strange for me at first."

- Greggy30

"Yes!!! Oh my God I'm from Morocco and this has always been one of my main complaints about this place, and I never understood why it didn't bother other people so much!!"

"It would definitely be considered creepy in other countries but here, people see no issue in staring at you and what you're doing anywhere, anytime."

"It's one of the main reasons I hate going out."

- ZooneyLooney

The smells.

"The smells of a different country. I'm from Australia and travelled to Malaysia a few years back. The city, the jungle, everything smelt different to any place in Australia."

- New_Nefariousness420

"I still distinctly remember the smell of Turkey, Egypt, Switzerland, Spain, so many countries we visited traveling Europe and I remember coming home to Sydney and being like 'ahh so this is what home smells like!'"

- a_slinky

"Yeah bro just come to the UK, the sweet smell of rain and cigarettes!"

- Mr_Peter_Kingham

Maybe we can learn a thing or two from these cultural differences, and celebrate how diverse our world truly is.

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People Reveal The Weirdest Thing About Themselves

Reddit user Isitjustmedownhere asked: 'Give an example; how weird are you really?'

Let's get one thing straight: no one is normal. We're all weird in our own ways, and that is actually normal.

Of course, that doesn't mean we don't all have that one strange trait or quirk that outweighs all the other weirdness we possess.

For me, it's the fact that I'm almost 30 years old, and I still have an imaginary friend. Her name is Sarah, she has red hair and green eyes, and I strongly believe that, since I lived in India when I created her and there were no actual people with red hair around, she was based on Daphne Blake from Scooby-Doo.

I also didn't know the name Sarah when I created her, so that came later. I know she's not really there, hence the term 'imaginary friend,' but she's kind of always been around. We all have conversations in our heads; mine are with Sarah. She keeps me on task and efficient.

My mom thinks I'm crazy that I still have an imaginary friend, and writing about her like this makes me think I may actually be crazy, but I don't mind. As I said, we're all weird, and we all have that one trait that outweighs all the other weirdness.

Redditors know this all too well and are eager to share their weird traits.

It all started when Redditor Isitjustmedownhere asked:

"Give an example; how weird are you really?"

Monsters Under My Bed

"My bed doesn't touch any wall."

"Edit: I guess i should clarify im not rich."

– Practical_Eye_3600

"Gosh the monsters can get you from any angle then."

– bikergirlr7

"At first I thought this was a flex on how big your bedroom is, but then I realized you're just a psycho 😁"

– zenOFiniquity8

Can You See Why?

"I bought one of those super-powerful fans to dry a basement carpet. Afterwards, I realized that it can point straight up and that it would be amazing to use on myself post-shower. Now I squeegee my body with my hands, step out of the shower and get blasted by a wide jet of room-temp air. I barely use my towel at all. Wife thinks I'm weird."

– KingBooRadley


"In 1990 when I was 8 years old and bored on a field trip, I saw a black Oldsmobile Cutlass driving down the street on a hot day to where you could see that mirage like distortion from the heat on the road. I took a “snapshot” by blinking my eyes and told myself “I wonder how long I can remember this image” ….well."

– AquamarineCheetah

"Even before smartphones, I always take "snapshots" by blinking my eyes hoping I'll remember every detail so I can draw it when I get home. Unfortunately, I may have taken so much snapshots that I can no longer remember every detail I want to draw."

"Makes me think my "memory is full.""

– Reasonable-Pirate902

Same, Same

"I have eaten the same lunch every day for the past 4 years and I'm not bored yet."

– OhhGoood

"How f**king big was this lunch when you started?"

– notmyrealnam3

Not Sure Who Was Weirder

"Had a line cook that worked for us for 6 months never said much. My sous chef once told him with no context, "Baw wit da baw daw bang daw bang diggy diggy." The guy smiled, left, and never came back."

– Frostygrunt


"I pace around my house for hours listening to music imagining that I have done all the things I simply lack the brain capacity to do, or in some really bizarre scenarios, I can really get immersed in these imaginations sometimes I don't know if this is some form of schizophrenia or what."

– RandomSharinganUser

"I do the same exact thing, sometimes for hours. When I was young it would be a ridiculous amount of time and many years later it’s sort of trickled off into almost nothing (almost). It’s weird but I just thought it’s how my brain processes sh*t."

– Kolkeia

If Only

"Even as an adult I still think that if you are in a car that goes over a cliff; and right as you are about to hit the ground if you jump up you can avoid the damage and will land safely. I know I'm wrong. You shut up. I'm not crying."

– ShotCompetition2593

Pet Food

"As a kid I would snack on my dog's Milkbones."

– drummerskillit

"Haha, I have a clear memory of myself doing this as well. I was around 3 y/o. Needless to say no one was supervising me."

– Isitjustmedownhere

"When I was younger, one of my responsibilities was to feed the pet fish every day. Instead, I would hide under the futon in the spare bedroom and eat the fish food."

– -GateKeep-

My Favorite Subject

"I'm autistic and have always had a thing for insects. My neurotypical best friend and I used to hang out at this local bar to talk to girls, back in the late 90s. One time he claimed that my tendency to circle conversations back to insects was hurting my game. The next time we went to that bar (with a few other friends), he turned and said sternly "No talking about bugs. Or space, or statistics or other bullsh*t but mainly no bugs." I felt like he was losing his mind over nothing."

"It was summer, the bar had its windows open. Our group hit it off with a group of young ladies, We were all chatting and having a good time. I was talking to one of these girls, my buddy was behind her facing away from me talking to a few other people."

"A cloudless sulphur flies in and lands on little thing that holds coasters."

"Cue Jordan Peele sweating gif."

"The girl notices my tension, and asks if I am looking at the leaf. "Actually, that's a lepidoptera called..." I looked at the back of my friend's head, he wasn't looking, "I mean a butterfly..." I poked it and it spread its wings the girl says "oh that's a BUG?!" and I still remember my friend turning around slowly to look at me with chastisement. The ONE thing he told me not to do."

"I was 21, and was completely not aware that I already had a rep for being an oddball. It got worse from there."

– Phormicidae

*Teeth Chatter*

"I bite ice cream sometimes."


"That's how I am with popsicles. My wife shudders every single time."


Never Speak Of This

"I put ice in my milk."


"You should keep that kind of thing to yourself. Even when asked."

– We-R-Doomed

"There's some disturbing sh*t in this thread, but this one takes the cake."

– RatonaMuffin

More Than Super Hearing

"I can hear the television while it's on mute."

– Tira13e

"What does it say to you, child?"

– Mama_Skip


"I put mustard on my omelettes."

– Deleted User


– NotCrustOr-filling

Evened Up

"Whenever I say a word and feel like I used a half of my mouth more than the other half, I have to even it out by saying the word again using the other half of my mouth more. If I don't do it correctly, that can go on forever until I feel it's ok."

"I do it silently so I don't creep people out."

– LesPaltaX

"That sounds like a symptom of OCD (I have it myself). Some people with OCD feel like certain actions have to be balanced (like counting or making sure physical movements are even). You should find a therapist who specializes in OCD, because they can help you."

– MoonlightKayla

I totally have the same need for things to be balanced! Guess I'm weird and a little OCD!

Close up face of a woman in bed, staring into the camera
Photo by Jen Theodore

Experiencing death is a fascinating and frightening idea.

Who doesn't want to know what is waiting for us on the other side?

But so many of us want to know and then come back and live a little longer.

It would be so great to be sure there is something else.

But the whole dying part is not that great, so we'll have to rely on other people's accounts.

Redditor AlaskaStiletto wanted to hear from everyone who has returned to life, so they asked:

"Redditors who have 'died' and come back to life, what did you see?"


Happy Good Vibes GIF by Major League SoccerGiphy

"My dad's heart stopped when he had a heart attack and he had to be brought back to life. He kept the paper copy of the heart monitor which shows he flatlined. He said he felt an overwhelming sensation of peace, like nothing he had felt before."



"I had surgical complications in 2010 that caused a great deal of blood loss. As a result, I had extremely low blood pressure and could barely stay awake. I remember feeling like I was surrounded by loved ones who had passed. They were in a circle around me and I knew they were there to guide me onwards. I told them I was not ready to go because my kids needed me and I came back."

"My nurse later said she was afraid she’d find me dead every time she came into the room."

"It took months, and blood transfusions, but I recovered."


Take Me Back

"Overwhelming peace and happiness. A bright airy and floating feeling. I live a very stressful life. Imagine finding out the person you have had a crush on reveals they have the same feelings for you and then you win the lotto later that day - that was the feeling I had."

"I never feared death afterward and am relieved when I hear of people dying after suffering from an illness."



The Light Minnie GIF by (G)I-DLEGiphy

"I had a heart surgery with near-death experience, for me at least (well the possibility that those effects are caused by morphine is also there) I just saw black and nothing else but it was warm and I had such inner peace, its weird as I sometimes still think about it and wish this feeling of being so light and free again."


This is why I hate surgery.

You just never know.



"More of a near-death experience. I was electrocuted. I felt like I was in a deep hole looking straight up in the sky. My life flashed before me. Felt sad for my family, but I had a deep sense of peace."



"Nursing in the ICU, we’ve had people try to die on us many times during the years, some successfully. One guy stood out to me. His heart stopped. We called a code, are working on him, and suddenly he comes to. We hadn’t vented him yet, so he was able to talk, and he started screaming, 'Don’t let them take me, don’t let them take me, they are coming,' he was scared and yelling."

"Then he yelled a little more, as we tried to calm him down, he screamed, 'No, No,' and gestured towards the end of the bed, and died again. We didn’t get him back. It was seriously creepy. We called his son to tell him the news, and the son said basically, 'Good, he was an SOB.'”



"My sister died and said it was extremely peaceful. She said it was very loud like a train station and lots of talking and she was stuck in this area that was like a curtain with lots of beautiful colors (colors that you don’t see in real life according to her) a man told her 'He was sorry, but she had to go back as it wasn’t her time.'"


"I had a really similar experience except I was in an endless garden with flowers that were colors I had never seen before. It was quiet and peaceful and a woman in a dress looked at me, shook her head, and just said 'Not yet.' As I was coming back, it was extremely loud, like everyone in the world was trying to talk all at once. It was all very disorienting but it changed my perspective on life!"


The Fog

"I was in a gray fog with a girl who looked a lot like a young version of my grandmother (who was still alive) but dressed like a pioneer in the 1800s she didn't say anything but kept pulling me towards an opening in the wall. I kept refusing to go because I was so tired."

"I finally got tired of her nagging and went and that's when I came to. I had bled out during a c-section and my heart could not beat without blood. They had to deliver the baby and sew up the bleeders. refill me with blood before they could restart my heart so, like, at least 12 minutes gone."


Through the Walls

"My spouse was dead for a couple of minutes one miserable night. She maintains that she saw nothing, but only heard people talking about her like through a wall. The only thing she remembers for absolute certain was begging an ER nurse that she didn't want to die."

"She's quite alive and well today."


Well let's all be happy to be alive.

It seems to be all we have.

Man's waist line
Santhosh Vaithiyanathan/Unsplash

Trying to lose weight is a struggle understood by many people regardless of size.

The goal of reaching a healthy weight may seem unattainable, but with diet and exercise, it can pay off through persistence and discipline.

Seeing the pounds gradually drop off can also be a great motivator and incentivize people to stay the course.

Those who've achieved their respective weight goals shared their experiences when Redditor apprenti8455 asked:

"People who lost a lot of weight, what surprises you the most now?"

Redditors didn't see these coming.

Shiver Me Timbers

"I’m always cold now!"

– Telrom_1

"I had a coworker lose over 130 pounds five or six years ago. I’ve never seen him without a jacket on since."

– r7ndom

"140 lbs lost here starting just before COVID, I feel like that little old lady that's always cold, damn this top comment was on point lmao."

– mr_remy

Drawing Concern

"I lost 100 pounds over a year and a half but since I’m old(70’s) it seems few people comment on it because (I think) they think I’m wasting away from some terminal illness."

– dee-fondy

"Congrats on the weight loss! It’s honestly a real accomplishment 🙂"

"Working in oncology, I can never comment on someone’s weight loss unless I specifically know it was on purpose, regardless of their age. I think it kind of ruffles feathers at times, but like I don’t want to congratulate someone for having cancer or something. It’s a weird place to be in."

– LizardofDeath

Unleashing Insults

"I remember when I lost the first big chunk of weight (around 50 lbs) it was like it gave some people license to talk sh*t about the 'old' me. Old coworkers, friends, made a lot of not just negative, but harsh comments about what I used to look like. One person I met after the big loss saw a picture of me prior and said, 'Wow, we wouldn’t even be friends!'”

"It wasn’t extremely common, but I was a little alarmed by some of the attention. My weight has been up and down since then, but every time I gain a little it gets me a little down thinking about those things people said."

– alanamablamaspama

Not Everything Goes After Losing Weight

"The loose skin is a bit unexpected."

– KeltarCentauri

"I haven’t experienced it myself, but surgery to remove skin takes a long time to recover. Longer than bariatric surgery and usually isn’t covered by insurance unless you have both."

– KatMagic1977

"It definitely does take a long time to recover. My Dad dropped a little over 200 pounds a few years back and decided to go through with skin removal surgery to deal with the excess. His procedure was extensive, as in he had skin taken from just about every part of his body excluding his head, and he went through hell for weeks in recovery, and he was bedridden for a lot of it."

– Jaew96

These Redditors shared their pleasantly surprising experiences.


"I can buy clothes in any store I want."

– WaySavvyD

"When I lost weight I was dying to go find cute, smaller clothes and I really struggled. As someone who had always been restricted to one or two stores that catered to plus-sized clothing, a full mall of shops with items in my size was daunting. Too many options and not enough knowledge of brands that were good vs cheap. I usually went home pretty frustrated."

– ganache98012

No More Symptoms

"Lost about 80 pounds in the past year and a half, biggest thing that I’ve noticed that I haven’t seen mentioned on here yet is my acid reflux and heartburn are basically gone. I used to be popping tums every couple hours and now they just sit in the medicine cabinet collecting dust."

– colleennicole93

Expanding Capabilities

"I'm all for not judging people by their appearance and I recognise that there are unhealthy, unachievable beauty standards, but one thing that is undeniable is that I can just do stuff now. Just stamina and flexibility alone are worth it, appearance is tertiary at best."

– Ramblonius

People Change Their Tune

"How much nicer people are to you."

"My feet weren't 'wide' they were 'fat.'"

– LiZZygsu

"Have to agree. Lost 220 lbs, people make eye contact and hold open doors and stuff"

"And on the foot thing, I also lost a full shoe size numerically and also wear regular width now 😅"

– awholedamngarden

It's gonna take some getting used to.

Bones Everywhere

"Having bones. Collarbones, wrist bones, knee bones, hip bones, ribs. I have so many bones sticking out everywhere and it’s weird as hell."

– Princess-Pancake-97

"I noticed the shadow of my ribs the other day and it threw me, there’s a whole skeleton in here."

– bekastrange

Knee Pillow

"Right?! And they’re so … pointy! Now I get why people sleep with pillows between their legs - the knee bones laying on top of each other (side sleeper here) is weird and jarring."

– snic2030

"I lost only 40 pounds within the last year or so. I’m struggling to relate to most of these comments as I feel like I just 'slimmed down' rather than dropped a ton. But wow, the pillow between the knees at night. YES! I can relate to this. I think a lot of my weight was in my thighs. I never needed to do this up until recently."

– Strongbad23

More Mobility

"I’ve lost 100 lbs since 2020. It’s a collection of little things that surprise me. For at least 10 years I couldn’t put on socks, or tie my shoes. I couldn’t bend over and pick something up. I couldn’t climb a ladder to fix something. Simple things like that I can do now that fascinate me."

"Edit: Some additional little things are sitting in a chair with arms, sitting in a booth in a restaurant, being able to shop in a normal store AND not needing to buy the biggest size there, being able to easily wipe my butt, and looking down and being able to see my penis."

– dma1965

People making significant changes, whether for mental or physical health, can surely find a newfound perspective on life.

But they can also discover different issues they never saw coming.

That being said, overcoming any challenge in life is laudable, especially if it leads to gaining confidence and ditching insecurities.