How travel teaches you perspective
If you’re a regular reader, you would know that earlier this year, I went on a three-week road trip with a stranger in Western Australia.
Significantly, she was not just any stranger, but someone from different country. Kat is German, but had been staying in Australia for seven months when we met and immediately headed out on our trip.
It was funny how we saw the same things from very different perspectives.
On bumpy roads…
Most of the roads were pretty awesome. There was one road, which had been flooded the day before and after the water had receded, there was some debris left on it.
Kat: (Horrified) Aaaaaah! Look at this terrible road! Let me take a picture (takes a picture on her phone).
Me: Feels like home.
On ‘rude’ drivers…
On a dirt road, a car that was coming from the other direction at a high speed and blowing a lot of dust behind it did not slow down when it crossed us.
Kat: That was rude! He should have slowed down.
Me: Feels like home.
On slowing down…
When I was driving on the highway and there was a car waiting to drive into it 200 metres ahead of me, I would slow down and think about honking.
Kat: Why are you slowing down? That car will let you pass.
Me: Yes I know! But I have never driven outside India before and I just wanted to be sure.
Kat: Do cars drive into highways just like that in India?
Me: You have no idea.
On eating habits…
We were having rice with meat and veggies for dinner. Back in India, when we eat rice with some curry or veggies, we mix them together before putting it in the mouth. That was exactly what I was doing with my fork.
Kat: You know, it would be bad manners if you did that when someone had invited you to dinner in Germany. They would think you weren’t interested in the food.
Me: Really?! If you didn’t mix the rice with the curry when someone invited you to dinner in India, they’d probably tell you to do it because otherwise you wouldn’t get the desired taste!
On the lunch menu…
Me: What are we having for lunch?
Kat: Bread and cheese?
Me: How about rice and veggies? Or pasta?
Kat: You don’t have rice or pasta for lunch!
Me: Yes you do! What do you normally have for lunch?
Kat: A sandwich usually. You?
Me: Rice and curry!
We figured while lunch was the heaviest meal of the day in India, in Australia, it was dinner (or tea, as the Australians call their last meal of the day). In Germany, however, Kat said lunch was the main meal on weekdays. But after seven months Down Under, she’d become accustomed to the Aussie way.
On guys holding hands…
At the end of our trip, we hung out in Perth for a while before parting ways. There was a group of Indian boys where we were sitting and two of them held hands for a bit while walking away. Kat looked at me with questioning eyes.
Me: No. When it comes to Indians, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are gay!