Conclusion: How did travelling change you, Steffi?
While travelling I loved that it was quite different, friendly, relaxed. Or it felt much friendlier. Maybe for people who visit Germany it’s not like that. But I was really shocked when I was back home. Of course not everything was just bad. On my blog (www.steffistraumzeit.de) I have also written an article what I find great of coming home but also an article about “cultural shock Germany”. When I landed in Germany at the airport and saw all the unfriendly faces before I even got out of the airport, it was like I wanted to take my backpack and get back on the airplane. This is the main difference.
I have become much more relaxed in any case. In the beginning I was still super annoyed when the bus was four hours late but at some point I thought “I drink just another coffee, will chat with the other people, go on reading my book, eventually the bus will come”. In the beginning I left the stress and rush, the typical german punctuality, behind me. I do understand now that I can’t change the situation, so I must not be stressed, I can just relax sit in the sun. This is an attitude I have tried to take back home with me but it is difficult to keep it because clocks tick differently here.
Smiles and meeting people
Meeting people and approach them has become easier. Before chatting to people you don’t have to panic “I won’t get to know people” or “how do I do it anyway?” It just happens. It works.
If people don’t want to smile I smile anyways and say “hello” or “good afternoon”. Some greet back and smile whether it is the cashier or the woman at the market or whoever. When you hike in New Zealand you say “hello” (when you meet someone on the trail) and when I was hiking here again for the first time and greeted other people I usually got confused looks on their faces but some have returned the greeting. I think if you just smile fist then someone will like it and do the same.
Appreciate what you have
I also have learned to appreciate what I have here (in Germany). We’re well taken care of, we have a good social network. That was partly frightening in Southeast Asia in various places. How do people live there and still smile and you have the feeling they are still happy with what they have. Here you can see people who have much more and yet are dissatisfied all the time. I found this very fascinating and interesting. I then asked myself
“How can people be so happy with so little and deal with their situation?”
If you want to read more about Steffi adventure and know to what countries she travelled to, click here: www.steffistraumzeit.de