///   Ask: How do You Deal With Culture Shock?

Ask John V Cain /// VinjatekASK is a series of posts answering questions asked by readers about the vagabonding operative lifestyle. Contact me to ask your own.

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I’ve lived in America all my life and never left until I started travel backpacking through Europe for the past 2 months. Because of the similarities, there wasn’t really much culture shock but I’ll be flying in to Bangkok soon. I’ve never been in any culture like Thailand and kind of scared of the shock. How do you deal with culture shock?

-Lori Aleksiewicz
Prospect, Connecticut

ANSWER ///

Instead of perceiving culture shock as something to “deal with”, try to view it as something to experience.

Uluwatu Temple Kecak Dance Ceremony in Bali, Indonesia /// Vinjatek

Uluwatu Temple, Indonesia ///

Culture shock occurs in the first few days of being in an extremely different culture relative to the traveler’s own and can be a very intense and nerving experience. So it’s understandable why most fear it. But you shouldn’t.

It’s comparable to extreme or adrenaline sports. So if you embrace culture shock, it can actually be a thrilling and exciting experience. Don’t hide from it or wait days until you feel adjusted to the new culture, just get out there and take it all in from the start.

In fact, I look forward to the “culture shock phase” whenever I get to a new country or city.

It’s quite a feeling that never gets old but can only happen once for every culture. So think of culture shock as a positive somewhat-once-in-a-lifetime experience.

How would you deal with culture shock?

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