I have visited 12+ countries for extended periods of time, and lived in roughly 4 countries depending on how you count it. I have unarguably lived in 2 countries on opposite sides of the globe.
Also, my traveling was never “vacation-only.” In fact, I’ve hardly visited museums, sites, and I don’t recall ever taking one tour.
I make money online & travel, so I have a much more in-depth experience of these local cultures. I make local friends, do local things, and live as if I’m a local while in these countries.
For me it’s about the experience, people, and beauty of each location- and not just the silly sites or tours or luxury.
Because of this extensive travel so young, I have experienced many cultures. I’ve also met people from other cultures in countries I haven’t visited yet.
I’ve been to half of the populated continents (North America, Europe, and Asia), and in the coming years intend to visit all 7.
Culture is a fascinating subject and there is no doubt a HUGE difference between the lives of people in Phoenix, AZ compared to those in Sofia, Bulgaria. In fact, there are even huge differences between Omaha, NE and Phoenix, AZ! Being as I’m born n’ raised in Omaha and I’ve also lived in Phoenix for a rough total of 2 years- I know!
Now that my “credentials” if you will are out of the way, let’s get into the #1 worst culture in the world I’ve ever experienced.
The #1 Worst Culture EVER (Warning: Shocking Content)
Of all of the places I’ve visited, I can no doubt say that the #1 worst culture I’ve visited are the places I’ve visited when my mind was also in the worst place.
Wait… what? You read that right.
In general, places where I had a negative experience were places that I approached with a negative frame of mind, or places which I was in a negative head-space for other various reasons.
The same is true for the other way around.
As the saying goes, “everywhere you go, there you are.” You can’t exactly escape yourself- while travel is great and I highly recommend it, it’s only effective if you are actively re-inventing yourself in the process. If you go to another city just expecting things to be better, while that might produce some result due to expectation, ultimately you’ll end up in the same place if you don’t make legitimate effort to change.
Are Americans Arrogant & mean?
For various reasons, America is the topic of focus for many 1st world countries. I actually enjoyed traveling more in Eastern Europe for this reason because they didn’t care from where I was. People in other 1st world countries (IN GENERAL) make a bigger deal of Americans & Trump, or whatever else the news is talking about.
Some people think that Americans are mean, cold, nationalists who want nothing more than for America to “nuke” the entire world.
Others think that Americans are SO nice, so kind, so giving, so abundant, and so loving.
Also, some people think Americans are so diverse & accepting of other cultures. Others think that the whites are actively hunting and suppressing the other races.
Are Germans Cold?
Germans have a reputation of being “cold” and punctual to a fault. Others think that their culture is welcoming to foreigners, especially due to their high English proficiency rate. The German language also sounds harsh to many other cultures.
Are the French Nationalistic?
The French, even in Montreal, are infamous for pretending NOT to speak the English language. It is said that you can’t ever have a real conversation with them unless you open first in French.
Are Slavs Aggressive?
Russians, Bulgarians, and other Slavic countries are regarded to as being overly-aggressive, mean, and harsh. Their language is harsh on most English-speaker’s ears due to the way words are naturally pronounced, and the sounds typically emphasized in Slavic languages are those sounds which English speakers use only while angry (ie. emphasizing SH in shit or FFF in fuck, normally English speakers focus more on vowels and light consonants).
I’ve met some pretty awesome Americans. They are accepting of other cultures, loving, and kind people. I’ve met white Americans, black Americans, and Americans from all around the world. I’ve also met some pretty mean & nasty ones, that drove aggressively, or were a bit too proud, or were a bit racist.
One of my best friends is a German, and I’d say he’s pretty damn cool. However I’ve also had some pretty negative experiences in Germany, of people indeed being cold to me.
In Montreal I’ve experienced the stereotypical French pride, and been actively laughed at for attempting to speak French. For some of them you quite literally have to speak in French before speaking to them in English.
On the other hand, French Canadians have been so kind to me. One time while living in Montreal I got invited to a house party in Terrebonne, which is primarily French. Most people couldn’t speak English any close to fluently but they gladly accommodated me and we shared many laughs.
While living in Sofia, Bulgaria, I met some asshole taxi drivers that scammed me. Other Slavs have been rather aggressive and too macho. On the other hand, many of my best friends are Bulgarian. They are emotionally supportive, kind, and wonderful people.
Do you really think that 320 million Americans could all be “mean,” or that the culture could be entirely more mean than say Germany or France? I mean, it could be, but it says a lot about YOU if you attract these types of people.
NO SINGLE HUMAN can tell whether Americans are “generally nice” or “generally mean” because it would require a sample size too big than what someone could experience in their life!
As I’ve stated earlier, my own mentality often attracted me to the very experiences which I received. A warm smile loosens people right up. An angry look on my face triggers anger in others.
The truth is, when people say “XYZ culture is ABC” it tells me a LOT more about THEM than it does THE CULTURE. Alternatively, it could be that they just had a bad experience.
For example, if someone visits Paris and means several French people who actively make fun of them for not speaking English during their 7 DAY VACATION, this person will go home and say “fuck the French.”
Really what they mean is “of the 20 some French people I interacted with, the majority were mean. I also reacted negatively, which triggered negativity in other French people, so my entire trip became a bad, self-fulfilling prophecy.”
The same is said of people that have “good experiences.” They go to Berlin and are gladly welcomed by the Germans. They believe Germans are kind & giving. They walk around with a smile and a hop in their step, and assume every German they meet is kind & giving, and so the receiving German feels happy and valued, and so becomes kind & giving.
You Choose Your Experiences
Although there is an element of random-ness, you primarily choose your life experiences & interactions. You attract what you are.
Even if you don’t believe in law of attraction as I do, it cannot be denied that walking around with a smile and a hop in your step will trigger happiness in others, thus continuing the very experience which you are happy.
The #1 Worst Culture EVER
So there is no #1 worst culture ever, for as far as the question can be concerned. People are people, and that’s it.
People on the other side of the world aren’t from a different species. They are much more similar than you could imagine.
They get jobs, have kids, have a partner, have friends, have hobbies, etc. JUST LIKE YOU.
In any given culture, there are mean people and good people. Having a short experience of 14 days or less is not enough to gauge the culture; your interactions will be a combination of luck & mentality.
The only way to truly know is to live for decades in a culture, and then decades in another. Even then, you are very likely emitting a different “energy” or in a different place in life on each different decade.
Now literally speaking, are there better or worse cultures? Absolutely. In theory, there is a generally #1 best culture in the world and #1 worst culture in the world.
So far as we are concerned, we can’t know. It’s impossible. Statistics don’t paint the real truth.
Ultimately it is up to YOU to determine what kind of experience you have, wherever you are, in that exact moment.
Of course, there are some nuances to this. I’d guess that people in ISIS-held Iraq could easily argue that this hippy happiness BS isn’t so effective when staring down an AK-47.
My guess is that to an extent your mental energy & sneakiness (ability to pretend to like them) could affect your experience of these people, but ultimately these groups of people actively lean towards a certain energy- hatred.
So as I write this, I must confess that we could very well argue there are without a doubt “best cultures” and “worst cultures.” The rule simply applies to the majority of countries in the world.
Nuances of the Nuance
But as I write this nuance, don’t you dare say “oh so yeah the nuance applies to me, my culture is shit.” No. You still get to choose your experiences and actively move away from what you don’t want, if you can read this now.
For example if you’re from a small, poor village in Bulgaria, you can actively decide to get a job in Sofia, and then once you’ve saved some money you can move elsewhere in the EU, such as the Netherlands or Germany.
Also, there are indeed cultural differences between groups of people. For example, in America it’s normal for a waiter to come by and visit you, ask how you’re doing, refill your water, etc. whereas that is not the case in Bulgaria.
At first I assumed the service was “just shit” in Bulgaria, but then I realized it was in their culture to not want to be disturbed by the waiter. They valued privacy & their own interactions. As a result, waiters would only come if requested, and leave you alone otherwise.
Someone coming to America from Bulgaria might think that Americans are so friendly & nice, when really they’re just doing their job. I’ve also had Bulgarians suggest that Americans are “inauthentic” or “fake” because of this behavior.
Is that really true? Not at all. It’s just a cultural difference which the person doesn’t understand.
The same is true of Americans going to Bulgaria. We could assume they have bad service, or realize that they value privacy and have a different definition of “service.” After living there for a year, it took me a while to adjust back to servers coming by and refilling my water.
Humanity Beyond Culture
Beyond these cultural differences, which we can falsely interpret as “good or bad,” lies humanity. Humanity just IS.
Everyone wants prosperity. Everyone wants love, and sex, and friends, and good memories.
This is our humanity beyond the social norms we define as “culture.”
Ultimately everywhere I go, I just see humans now. The cultures may differ, as do the languages, but in the end we are just people.
Because there are people everywhere I go there are good people and bad people in every “culture,” for to have a culture means you must first have humanity.
When someone suggests to me that a particular culture is “good or bad,” it tells me more about that person, and/or reveals the quality of their memories in the culture they are referring to.
In other cases where a friend suggests to another friend that “XYZ culture is ABC,” it reveals simply ignorance on the person who accepts this belief from the friend without analyzing WHY their friend says that XYZ culture is ABC.
What is YOUR Culture?
Within every culture are sub-cultures. So now I ask, what is YOUR culture, within the society that you live in?
Whether by conscious or unconscious choice, or even by luck or accident, where you are is shaping you, defining you, becoming you.
You can choose to have what you want, but in order to do so you must first open up your consciousness to the fact that you need to take responsibility for your own humanity beyond culture, and then secondly to actively search for those humans who are supportive and good, beyond some culture.
We can sit here on our high horses laughing at the ignorance of those who believe XYZ culture is ABC, or we can realize our own ignorance and fix those first.
The choice is yours. What is YOUR culture?