Top Stories

Travelers Share The Biggest Culture Shock They've Experienced

Travelers Share The Biggest Culture Shock They've Experienced
Photo via Pexels

The first time you travel outside of your comfort zone, it's amazing. Amazing, but very different. And that difference takes some getting used to--some have a better time with it than others.


u/fashce1 asked the travelers of Reddit:

What is the biggest culture shock you have ever faced?

Here were some of the answers.

Magic Carp

Visiting family in the Czech Republic around Christmastime. Went to use washroom and was utterly astounded to see a giant carp swimming around in their bathtub. Learned it is customary to eat fried carp on Christmas Eve.

rich_da_hoser

Delicious, At Any Time Of Day

How much quality food there is at Japanese 7-11. Yes you heard me, QUALITY. Obviously here in the US you don't trust gas station sushi or really any food that comes from them. Honestly a vagabond or tourist can easily survive eating only 7-11 food in Japan, since really it's cheap and not as processed.

optionalhero

So Not Weird

When I visited South America it was my first time experiencing that you throw your toilet paper in a trash bin next to the toilet specifically for that rather than flush it and mess up their sewage infrastructure

It's so weird but not weird at the same time since its just how things work there.

myleskilloneous

Ah, Good Ol' Boston

I went into an an ice cream shop in Boston that was staffed by an older lady, we'll call er her OL, the exchange went like this:

OL: Hi how aw ya?

Me: I'm great, and you?

OL:<no answer>

Me: Do you have blueberry cheesecake ice cream?

OL: Do you see it on the board? If it's not on the board then we don't f*cking have it

Bob_12_Pack

Public Vs. Private

Working in the public sector. I previously worked in hospitality as a restaurant manager. The change to go working into a 9-5 office job was extraordinarily tough. People were so awkward and shy, I used to greet every staff member with a handshake previously but now everyone in my office can't make eye contact. Public Sector for me is the most 'be careful what you say' environment regarding absolutely anything even your plans for the weekend...

SheenoW_

A Garbage Time

I live in a very clean city, so I was shocked When I visited South America and saw how dirty it was and how much people litter.

People there literally do not give a sh*t and will just throw their trash right on the ground... Even if there's a trash can 10 ft away.

I was on a bus in Colombia and this lady was throwing trash out the window the whole 12 hr bus ride even though there was a garbage bag across the aisle from her.

In Brazil I was on a boat ride on the Amazon and our engine got clogged up. They stop the boat pull the engine up and there's a black trash bag wrapped around the motor. The driver proceeds to take the bag off and throw it right back in the river before starting the boat and taking off.

I also remember seeing people just chucking huge bags of trash right into the Amazon River...No sh*ts given.

It's really sad because it's beautiful in South America. A lot places there just don't have the money/infastruture to properly take care of their waste.

tornadoquake23

Traffique

Traffic in Vietnam. Crossing the street by walking slowly, letting the overloaded scooters drive around me, I got used to relatively quick. But the overnight bus from Hanoi to Danang crisscrossing the highway, having near misses with incoming trailers and honking every third second, that was bad.

krakenftrs

Welcome To Japan, My Friend.  Welcome...To Japan

First time in Japan, first interaction with anyone outside of the airport:

Get there early in the morning, LOOOONG flight and have a meeting in an hour. Need coffee asap. Go to 7-11 (awesome! they have that here!) before checking into hotel. Guy at the counter greets me. I'm looking around for the coffee. Guy runs around counter, eager to help me in any way. "Cofffee" I say. He takes me to the coffee, points to the different types, gets a cup for me, shows me how to use the machine, practically holding my hand through the process. Get me all set up with a fresh coffee, runs back around counter. shows me the little tray to put my money in, helps me count my money. Runs back around counter, leads me to door, opens it for me and bows with traditional goodbye and arigatou gozaimasu.

WOW, welcome to Japan.

davewtameloncamp

Aggressive Aggression

I grew up in a working class city where passive-aggression wasn't a thing. If people didn't like you they made it obvious. Shouting matches and fist-fights were pretty common. Then I get a job at a snooty ivy league university and nobody expresses what they actually think or feel, snide remarks replaced insults, people quietly conspire against you while pretending to be your friend, and you can't call people out on their bullshit without getting socially shunned because everybody is neck deep swimming in it.

signture_for_all

More Engrained Than Ever

As the only American at a company in rural Japan: the sexism.

Everyone wears uniforms, women have to wear skirts.

In the company phone directory there is a special symbol to indicate if someone is a woman.

Women leave the office at 5 or 530. Men all work later.

Women are very unlikely to be promoted. There is only one female manager in the entire company.

When a women gets married 90% of the time they quit the company.

If a married woman's husband's parents die the company sends a card and money. If her own parents die they send nothing.

Women must serve tea and clean the office spaces.

Constantly being called "kawaii", cute, beautiful, and "~chan" by male co-workers.

Etc.

P1kachuchuchu

Bussing

Holidaying in Tokyo and watching 5 year old kids walk themselves home from school and catching public transport...all by themselves.

smooth_source

This is actually common in most countries outside of the US. My city here in Germany has one of the US' largest bases, and every morning you'll only see the American parents guarding their children (guessing 7-13) until the bus comes to pick them up. It's a typical American school bus which looks completely different from our regular city busses, so they should be able to easily teach their kids "get on the yellow bus and not the white/green/blue ones" but hovering around your kids just isn't 'normal' here.

Kids have keys to their homes, learn where they live, how to get there and back at a pretty young age unless of course there's no public transport close enough and the parents have to come pick them up.

-captn-

Street Traffic 

I spent 12 weeks backpacking in India. The most intense culture shock was when I returned to the US. There were no people outside! The streets felt deserted. In India every city street is just packed with people. I had a second wave of culture shock was when I went to the grocery store for bread and the aisle was 25 feet long and had dozens of varieties. Lots of stuff I used to take for granted suddenly felt like such a blessing.

ALasagnaForOne

Old Wives' Tales People Still Believe For Some Reason

"Reddit user the_spring_goddess asked: 'What is an old wives tale that people still believe?'"

Close up of an owl tilting their head to side, looking bewildered
Photo by Josh Mills

The old wives' tales.

They are the stories of legend.

I think we all need a big DEEP Google dive though.

Where did they originate?

WHO ARE THE OLD WIVES!

You don't hear about them as much anymore.

It's like science and logic are suddenly a thing.

But they sure are a good way to keep your kids and their behavior in line.

Redditor the_spring_goddess wanted to discuss the tall tales we've all been fed through life, so they asked:

"What is an old wives tale that people still believe?"

"Wait an hour to swim after eating."

What a crock!

So many summer hours wasted.

I want revenge for that one.

Say Nothing

Giphy

"An undercover cop has to tell you he's a cop if you ask him."

LonelyMail5115

"Pretty much most advice when it comes to cops are old wives tales. I’m not even a cop but most of the advice you hear is pretty off."

I_AM_AN_A**HOLE_AMA

Say Something

"That you have to wait 24 hours to report someone missing."

Severe_Airport1426

"I really think this one is important and should be the top regardless. As it’s a piece of advice that needs to be relearned and the only way to do that is through awareness."

crappycurtains

"This used to be true. I think they changed it after some guy named Brandon went missing back in the '80s or '70s. You used to have to wait 24 hours if the missing person was an adult because they had 'a right to be missing' and then everyone realized that was stupid and stopped doing it."

AlbinoShavedGorilla

Body Temps

"That drinking ice cold water after eating oily foods will solidify the oil and permanently remain in your body. I informed my coworker that if your body temperature ever reached that point, you’d have bigger problems than weight gain."

chriseo22

"Oh, I have a cousin who 100% believed this. One of those guys who believed every early 2000s internet rumor and old wives tale. One night I chugged a big glass of ice water after dinner and he started freaking out and saying my guts were gonna harden."

"I sarcastically told him to drive me to the hospital if that happened. Obviously, nothing happened and the next morning I said something like 'Thanks for being on standby in case my guts filled with hardened oil.' He just walked off muttering under his breath."

apocalypticradish

Arms Down

"When I was pregnant, I was told by young and old alike that I should NOT raise my arms above my head or exert myself in such a manner because it could cause cord strangulation to my unborn sons and daughters."

Fatmouse84

10 Years Actually

Unimpressed Uh Huh GIF by Brooklyn Nine-NineGiphy

"Chewing gum stays in your stomach for 7 years."

REDDIT

"I remember accidentally swallowing a piece of gum when I was a kid in like 1995 and just accepting my fate like welp, gonna have this in my stomach til high school I guess."

Gecko-911

I was so afraid to sallow my gum when I was young.

This tale is haunting.

High/Low

Hungry Debra Messing GIF by Will & GraceGiphy

"You can tell the sex of the baby by how you carry."

LeastFormal9366

"Pregnancy certainly wins awards for the most old wives tales. So much absolute BS was repeated to us by everyone we talked to."

IllIIIlIllIlIIlIllI

The Cursed

"If you’re a woman and you wear opal jewelry but opal is not your birthstone (October), you’ll never be able to have children, or will be widowed, or just generally have bad luck or something. You can counteract this by having a diamond in the same piece of jewelry as the opal, though."

"I have a nice opal ring that my parents gave me years ago, and I’ve had other women give me this 'advice' unprompted more than once when I’ve worn it. I have absolutely no idea where it started, but I’m pretty sure this little chunk of silicate rock has no concept of what month I was born in, let alone of how my reproductive organs work."

SmoreOfBabylon

Stay In

"Going outside with wet hair will make you get pneumonia. Or an earache. Or maybe arthritis. Depends on which old wife you listen to."

"Jokes on them - I haven't blow-dried my hair in decades and usually leave the house with wet hair in the morning. On winter mornings, the tips of my hair get frozen. No ear infections or pneumonia or arthritis yet."

worldbound0514

Dreams and Facts

"You never make anyone up in your dreams you've seen everyone in your dreams somewhere else before and never make anyone up entirely."

"How would you possibly prove that to be true? My partner adamantly believes this and tells me this 'fact' whenever I have a dream about someone I've never met before."

mattshonestreddit

"My late wife used to tell me that before she met me she would have dreams of standing at an alter on her wedding day but could never see the guy's face, no matter how hard she tried. After meeting me the face was filled in with mine. Don't know if it's true but one of those things I like thinking of every now and then when I miss her."

Darthdemented

Cracked

Getting Ready Episode 2 GIF by The OfficeGiphy

"Some people still believe cracking knuckles causes arthritis."

Choice-Grapefruit-44

"There's a doctor (Donald Unger) that cracked his knuckles a couple of times a day for 60 years, but only on one hand, just to prove it. Both hands remained exactly the same."

MacyTmcterry

I love my knuckles.

Do you have any tall tales to add to the list? Let us know in the comments below.

lottery tickets
Erik Mclean on Unsplash

A lot of workers daydream about some day winning the lottery and being able to say goodbye to their job.

Far too many workers are unhappy with their job duties, workplace dynamics or company culture.

But with a taste for luxuries like housing and food, they keep plugging away, year after year.

However not everyone feels that way about their job.

So what are these compelling careers?

Keep reading...Show less
Therapist talking during session
Photo by Mark Williams on Unsplash

Some people stand firmly stand behind their beliefs that everyone would benefit from therapy and that therapy is life-changing.

It's because of the totally life-changing truth bombs their therapist had dropped during their sessions.

Curious, Redditor anonymiss0018 asked:

"What is a little bombshell your therapist dropped in one of your sessions that completely changed your outlook?"

Communication Issues

"'If you don’t have these problems with any other person in your life, why do you think you’re the problematic person in this one?'"

- maggiebear

"I love this. I have a 'friend' who I always seem to run into misunderstandings with. Every time we had a conversation, it somehow turned into a debate even if it was me talking about my day. The conversations were never easy."

"I always evaluate myself first and take into consideration his critiques. He was very good at convincing me that I was contradicting myself or wasn't good at communicating my thoughts."

"I NEVER had this issue with ANYONE else in my life. I kept trying to figure out where the miscommunication was coming from. In the end, I just minimized contact and now I don't run into this issue."

- chobani_yo

"I read this quote somewhere once (and probably have it a bit wrong): 'It's a waste of time arguing with someone who is determined to misunderstand you.'"

- Reddit

Emotional Regulation

"'You can’t control your emotions, but you can control what you do with them.'"

"At the time, I was a young adult who had learned zero healthy emotional regulation skills (only suppression and shaming) growing up, so this blew my mind."

- lil_mermaid

Tough Relationships

"'It sounds to me like you are trying to convince yourself to stay with your girlfriend. I'm not so sure it should be so difficult.'"

"At the time he said this, I remember it was like he said, 'The earth is flat.' I thought he was crazy when he suggested relationships don't need to be difficult. But eventually, I started to realize I was trying to change myself to stay with this person rather than just being who I am."

"It took me three more months to finally break up with her but from that day on, I vowed to never again abandon myself just to be with someone I had convinced myself was better than me."

- metric88

High-Stress Situation

"I was at a high-stress time, and I asked her how people live like this."

"She replied, 'Oftentimes they have cardiac events.' She said it as an urging to care for myself as much as possible."

- KittenGr8r

The End of Alcohol

"I was struggling with my alcoholism, and we were discussing how I had been cutting back."

"She asked what I would consider success, with regard to my drinking."

"I said I wanted to get to a point where it wasn't interfering with my daily life. I wanted to just be able to have a glass of wine at holiday dinners or family gatherings."

"She simply asked me why. Why was it important for me to drink at those times?"

"It was as if she'd turned on a light. Alcohol had always been a key ingredient in every family function, for my entire life. When I smell bourbon, I think of my uncle. When I smell vermouth, I think of my dad. Alcohol ran through almost every happy childhood memory."

"But, even more than that, I was very afraid of the explanation I'd have to give when family and friends asked why I wasn't having a drink. I had tried to quit before but failed. What if I admitted my problem, only to fall off the wagon?"

"When she asked why I didn't want to completely quit, it was the first time I saw that last part of the big picture. I'd be willing to drink myself to death in order to avoid being scrutinized, or judged for possible future failures."

"That was the day I quit. I've been sober since May 6th, 2017. 2,407 days."

- sophies_wish

Acceptance vs. Enjoyment

"'Accepting something doesn’t mean you have to like it.'"

"That took away a lot of my inner conflicts about situations because I could accept a situation without expending energy internally fighting against the injustice of it."

- alibelloc

Emotionally Immature Parents

"You are not responsible for your parents' emotional wellbeing. They are independent adults who have been on this earth for many more years than you."

- SmokedPears

Not So Lazy

"'Why do you think you're lazy?' Then she listed off all the things she knows I'm doing for my family, my job, and my life."

"It kind of blew my mind when I struggled to come up with an example."

"She also described family dysfunction as water. Some families are messed up in a way that everyone can see the huge waves across the surface. Others are better at hiding it, but there's still a riptide that you can't see unless you're also in the water."

"It made me realize that trying to keep the surface from ever rippling doesn't erase what is happening underneath."

- flybyknight665

The Harm in People-Pleasing

"'Why do you make people more comfortable when you are uncomfortable?' when talking about people pleasing and fawning."

- ERsandwich

Agree to Disagree

"'Stop trying to get everyone to agree. When you need everyone to agree, the least agreeable person has all the power.'"

This really changed my outlook on planning family events."

- freef

Grieve and Start Anew

"For context, I had a major TBI (traumatic brain injury), seizures, strokes, and all around not a fun brain time when I was 28."

"They said, 'You have to grieve the loss of yourself.'"

"Most people wanted me to go back to how I was. The f**ked up truth is that part of my brain is dead. The person everyone (including myself) knew died. I needed to grieve the loss of myself."

- squeaktoy_la

Multifaceted Identity

"They told me that my job and career is just a way to make money; it's not my life or identity. That took a lot of pressure off me."

- unfairpegasus

Breaking the Cycle

"They validated me."

"'You always talk about not wanting to do to your daughters what your mom did to you. You worry about it so much in every interaction you have ever had with them."

"But your children are 19 and 21 now. They are happy and healthy and they trust you because you’ve never abused them in any way. So I just want to validate for you that you really have broken that cycle of violence."

"You did that. And you should be proud of it. I’m proud of you for it.'"

- puppsmcgee74

The Grieving Process

"I was constantly bringing up how I felt like a completely different person after my mom died... like there was a marked difference between before and after her death."

"But once, she was asking about my hobbies, I got really into describing all the things I loved to do or at least used to do before I got into a deep depression."

"She was like, 'Wow, you seem very passionate.'"

"And I just sat there like, 'Well, I mean, I can't change what I like to do, they're still fun to do.'"

"And it's like she knew when to take a step back, because it was like, wow, I may be super depressed about my mom passing, but I'm still me. I'm still my passions and those don't go away."

"I don't know, maybe it only makes sense to be, but it really started getting me back on track."

- Hannibal680

Sharing the Load

"I've never really had friends. I've had colleagues and classmates and housemates and people who have hung out with me, but I never really felt close to any of them."

"And I did that thing you see on here sometimes; I stopped reaching out to see if I would be reached out to, and I wasn't, which I took as confirmation that they didn't really want me around, or at the very least, that they wouldn't mind my absence."

"I was talking to my therapist about people I'd been close to in college, and she told me to pick one and talk about him. So I did. After I shared some basic stuff like his name and his major etc., and a couple of anecdotes, she asked me what else I knew about him."

"And I couldn't answer. It wasn't really a broadly applicable bombshell, but she said, 'What else?' and I started crying because I realized that for as simple as the question was, my inability to answer spoke volumes."

"I've never had good friends because I've never been a good friend. I'm withdrawn and reserved and I always made others do the work to drag me out, without ever extending my own friendship in a meaningful way in return. If I wanted to have meaningful relationships with other people, I would have to build them."

"I'm still working on this, but I'm trying to make more offers and extend more friendliness to others in my daily life."

- Backupusername

The discoveries in this thread were incredibly touching and profound; it's no wonder these were lasting concepts for these Redditors.

It's important to keep ourselves open to inspiration and insights from others, as we have no idea how their experiences could help us, or how we could help them.

Aerial view of a church in a small town
Sander Weeteling/Unsplash

There's something comforting about living in a small town.

It's characterized by close communities where neighbors know each other by name and there is an abundance of kindness extended to others.

Gift-giving is a commonality, as is the sharing of recipes, and people going out of their way to help each other in a time of need.

The pace of living in small towns is also a striking contradiction to city life, where crowds of people go about their busy lives without much interaction.

Curious to hear more examples of what small town living is like, Redditor official_biz asked:

"What's the most 'small town' thing you've witnessed?"

These are positive examples of a tight-knit community.

Live Updates

"We have a village Facebook page. Every time the ice cream man drives into the village, the entire page goes ballistic. People send live updates of where the van is and which direction he's heading. The ice cream man has started accepting DMs so he knows which streets to go down."

– PyrrhuraMolinae

Brush With The Law

"I’m from a town of less than 2,000 people. When I worked at the grocery store there people would often drop off stuff for my family members because they didn’t want to drive all the way down to our house. I no longer live there but recently got a call from my daughter. She had been stopped for speeding and handed over her license and insurance which happens to be in my mother’s name. The officer goes 'Hey, you’re Donnie’s granddaughter! I ain’t gonna write you a ticket but I’m telling Donnie when I see him tomorrow cause we’re going fishing.' She replied 'I think I’d rather have the ticket.'”

- Reddit

Roadside Catchup

"The traffic on the 'main street' of my town is so sparse, two drivers going opposite directions can stop and talk to each other for a few minutes without causing any problem."

– anon

When things go wrong, people take notice without incident.

Bank Robbery

"A guy robbed a bank and everyone knew immediately who he was and the teller got mad at him."

– AlexRyang

"A local bank was robbed and one of the tellers told the police to bring her a yearbook from about ten years earlier and she would be able to point the robber out. He had been in the grade before hers in school."

– Strict_Condition_632

Wise Woman

"When I worked at the bank in town there was an older lady that had worked there through 5 mergers."

"She knew everyone, there was a young guy yelling at me one day. She walked out of the back and he immediately quieted. She went off about telling his grandmother that he was treating young women like sh*t. She also said that if he didn’t straighten up not one girl in town would ever marry him she would make sure of it."

– ilurvekittens

Intoxicated Local

"Town drunk was paralyzed and used a motorized wheelchair to get around. I was driving home one Saturday night and said town drunk was passed out in his wheelchair doing circles almost directly in the town square. Had to call his brother who came and picked him up on a rollback truck. Strapped him down and drove off into the cold dark night."

– DoodooExplosion

Grazing Over To The Bar

"In my former small town, there was an older guy who'd lost his license after getting a few DUIs. Every day, he would ride his John Deere lawnmower to the corner bar around 3PM and sit around watching TV and sipping his beer well into the night. Then he'd head the couple miles back home on his mower. He even had a little canvass shell he put on when it rained or got too cold."

– brown_pleated_slacks

It's not surprising how small town people behave differently than those who are from metropolitan areas.

Welcoming Committee

"I lived in a small town. When I moved there, people would ask, 'Whose house did you buy?'"

–MoonieNine

"Move to a small town. 30 years later, you are still the new guy."

– impiousdrifter

"I lived in a small town for most of my childhood but I wasn't "from there" because my grandparents weren't from there."

– raisinghellwithtrees

"Worked with an older guy, relative of the owner of the business, he was 73. I asked him if he was a local, he said 'no his parents moved here when he was two.'"

– realneil

A Busy Day

"Lived in a town of about 5,000: A woman walked into the DMV on a Friday, saw that there were 3 people ahead of her and left to come back another time when they weren't so busy."

– KenmoreToast

Who Let The Dogs Out?

"My dogs got out while i was working. the police called my niece's elementary school (she was a 5th grader) to get her to round them up and take them back home."

– mediocrelpn

"There was a small kennel behind the police station for runaways. They called us saying they had our dog, and moments later our dog showed up home. He broke out of jail."

– Worried_Place_917

While life in a small town sounds appealing, I don't know if I can ever live in one.

I'm so used to life in big cities, I think it would be quite unnerving to adjust in a neighborhood where everyone literally knows your business.

I would be paranoid.

And I'm sure the same could be said of life in the big city.

Would you consider making the switch to life in a different setting?