Over a cup of tea today, I’m getting another one of my travel bug bears off my chest. It’s another random rant and I don’t care who disagrees with me here – but almost every traveller I meet is guilty of this one….yes you are, admit it (I used to be guilty of it too…)
So picture the scene – you check into a new hostel and go to your room. There are people in it. Within three minutes one of them has asked you, as the FIRST ever thing they say to you: “where are you from?”. I go crazy. OK, so I tell them the answer, but is it really important? Is “where I’m from” more important than the following 4 questions?:
– What’s your name?
– How are you?
– What are your travel plans?
– Are you travelling alone?
Because to me (a person with a degree in PR and a people person) asking a person where they are from as the FIRST question or first thing you say to them is extremely rude and disrespectful of that person. I’ve done it myself of course, especially in my early backpacking days. But nowadays it’s always a handshake and “What’s your name? I’m Jonny”. Much better. Don’t ask a new person you see “where are you from?”.
So fellow travellers, today I am urging you all to STOP ASKING “Where are you from?” as the FIRST question/thing you say to a new roommate or travel buddy. Break the mould and step out of the mundane. Ask them their name.
And for the record, I’m from Bangor in Northern Ireland. That’s where I’m from. You can call me Jonny – the travelling Northern Irishman, nomad, 7 continents traveller, man on a mission and the writer of the travel blog Don’t Stop Living. I sometimes (often) wear a Northern Ireland football shirt on my travels, now that SHOULD tell you where I’m from. Not many non-Northern Irish would wear one of those, believe me…
Now where’s my beer? Anyone care to join me? You can even have a random rant with me if you want!