So you’re planning on riding RTW? Congratulations on your upcoming journey! Here are a few things to help you navigate different cultures smoothly.
If you’re a female rider, you’ll have to cover your head in Iran. In South America, it’s rude not to say “provecho” when you enter a restaurant full of people. In Morocco, it’s distasteful to offer your left hand for a handshake. These things may seem insignificant to you, but they do matter to the local people (just like it matters to say “how are you” in the States). So do a little research beforehand and be aware!
Respect the Countries
You may not agree with some of the local customs or fully understand them That’s okay, but be respectful and observe the local traditions. You are a guest in a foreign land, so make sure you are mindful about your surroundings and your behavior.
Ask the Locals
Find yourself in a situation where you’re not sure how to behave, or what’s the appropriate way to do something? Don’t be afraid to ask! Locals love talking about their culture and explaining their ways of living, so if in doubt, always just ask!
Local bureaucracy seems ridiculous? Getting frustrated with crazy traffic? Border officials seem to be dragging their feet? Chill, embrace your inner Zen, and smile. Never show anger or frustration with the local police, traffic, or borders. This is a different country, different rules, different pace of life, and the local people are doing their best with what they have. Always be patient, polite, and kind. And if all fails, buy everyone an ice cream! No, I’m not kidding. Ice cream is a great ice breaker, so to speak. It always elicits smiles and more often than not, eases the proceedings!