Somebody I know is on vacation, or holiday, as my European friends may say.
During their holiday they stay at a hostel.
While at the hostel they meet a wide variety of people.
Some of these people were not from where my friends live in America, and others were not from America. Which for these people is kind of exciting. It’s always fascinating to have time to sit and talk with people from other states, countries, religions and beliefs. Usually if given time I think we all find that common ground to appreciate one another’s differences.
Here’s what I hesitate to share.
Some of the people not from this country were bragging about how easy it was to get a work visa to enter America. And then spend the entire time hiking and traveling. Not working. That’s not an assumption. It’s what they shared of themselves.
Don’t get me wrong. Please.
I think it is fantastic that we all like to have adventure, explore new places and meet new people.
But what upset me is the attitude that was represented. We fooled the American government. We do whatever we want. We don’t respect you.
This isn’t about any one culture. Or even about just those particular hikers.
It’s about us as people.
If I go to another country, and I have, I obey their laws. I am prepared before I go there to give them the information they request of me while I am in their country. And whatever I tell them I am doing….I am doing. Isn’t that what we should do?
If I can’t go some place I really want to go, then I can’t go.
With all of the horrible things that are happening in many countries, not just ‘ours’, why would someone come in to a country and brag about something like this? How many horrible acts have occurred across the globe by people sneaking (for lack of a better word) in to another country and inflicting harm on that country and their people. And why wouldn’t those who hear you talking like this not get upset?
I know that this has the potential to upset or cause disagreement with some. I know some will believe Americans are “just as” guilty of this very thing.
That’s the point.
We wonder why there is such distrust in our worlds. Distrust between peoples and cultures. I believe there are many levels of blame to toss out there. But as individuals we have as much responsibility as our governments to represent our country well and respect countries we travel to.
If you sit down next to me and brag about breaking laws to travel freely about my country….you instill distrust. And that may lead to fear. And that is your fault.