I so loved the discussion that was brought on by this post. The feedback given really helped me understand the whole lack of "opening my door" problem I have, that I also pinned on most other Americans.
I think I was sorta right and sorta wrong. Possibly we in North America are less open-doored because of the media, and possibly for other reasons, but I like what reader Carolina said in her comment:
I think it is a matter of perspective. I just had an email from a Dutch friend who recently moved back to Holland after living here for a few years, she was complaining that her neighbours were not very friendly: "it's not like it is there", she said. When I lived in London, several friends commented how they found Americans so much friendlier and warmer, how when Americans ask "How are you?" they actually wanted to know how you were, that it was not just a greeting. These are just two anecdotes that come to mind because I just had this conversation with my mom a week ago.
Clearly there can be many different opinions on the subject- but I agree. North Americans are fairly bubbly and warm to others. As are many other cultures, depending on who you talk to. I imagine you can find any type of person in any type of place. I imagine that it's a bad idea to try and generalize.
It's likely that I was so impressed by the world's open door policy because I've never travelled the world before, and simply have never seen so much willingness to help a traveller out before. This is what blew my mind. The constant, "Oh, you are a family, travelling? LET ME HELP YOU!!!!!" Sheesh! If I met us, I'd be like, "Your kids are kinda stinky... do you bathe them? You smell like stale RV."
The people who, seeing our family studying a map, would come right up and say, in English or whatever language, "Where are you trying to go, can I help you find it?"
The people who, on hearing where we were headed, told us who they knew in the place where we were going, and how we should stay with them.
The people who left their shops unattended to show us the way to the nearest bathroom when Izzy had to pee RIGHT.NOW.
The people who spoke not a word of English, so resorted to drawing detailed maps of destinations and procedures. Killer!
And the people who let us park and sleep in their driveways, invited us to dinner, stayed to talk after sessions because we were dying for conversation, and perhaps most importantly:
Those who made us feel like we were doing the right thing, by giving the kids a glimpse into the world and the little parts of it that make up the whole.
I have learned so much and I suppose I didn't really need to go across the world to learn it... but it was one of those things where, when you go somewhere new, you pay attention more, you look internally more, you analyze more.
Really, have you tried this? Travel somewhere continually for more than 2 weeks. Suddenly you'll find all this deep thinking going on in your head. Thinking powers you never knew you had suddenly surface. It's the direct result of being exposed to things that are new.
These past 4 months I've learned that I need to work on my sincerity and desire to help other people. Scratch that- I feel like I have the desire and I really do care about people, honestly. But I feel like everybody beats me at it. They are better at being better. I need to be way more on my game.
I know you guys are probably really sick of my "voice" on this blog, but Tyler is busy running this business and so, you get me.
From the beautiful west coast of Norway-
BLUE LILY | Lifestyle Photographer | Salt Lake City, Utah