“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home.”
– James Michener
We’ve all heard the famous phrase, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” (attributed to St. Ambrose). In other words, you are the guest of another city, country, culture and as a guest (a polite and thoughtful guest!) your experience and visit will be far more comfortable and memorable if you have taken the time and effort to blend in, i.e., observe, learn, appreciate, and respect local customs and behavior.
This includes being appropriately dressed and observing appropriate behavior. It shows a respect for traditions and cultures other than one’s own. We want to be the guest we would invite into our own home. If you aren’t sure, observe what locals around you are doing and follow along accordingly.
An example is being appropriately attired when entering churches and places of worship.In Catholic churches, you are expected to wear shirts/tops with sleeves, and skirts/pants below the knee. In mosques, shawls or scarves covering the head are preferred and you will be asked to remove your shoes.
Being able to visit any historical site, whether it be a museum, a national park, or ancient ruins, is an amazing opportunity and we are able to because others have observed simple requests: “Don’t touch”, “No Photography”, “Don’t Litter”…these signs are there for a reason – graffiti, litter, and other thoughtless behavior is universally inappropriate.
Be considerate, be thoughtful, be tolerant, embrace your experience with an open mind.
What are your thoughts on this? Please share!