The Stranger

It is a common interaction between strangers to make awkward eye contact. In the United States interactions between strangers often seem to be weird and not welcome. They are more likely to ignore each other than say a friendly hello. This is not the same everywhere though, in fact some cultures find having in depth conversations with a complete stranger common place. Imagine being a tourist somewhere that interacts with strangers differently, and how that may affect your trip. It may make the tourist feel uncomfortable and even more out of place.

My one true passion in life is travel. I want to see as many places as possible and explore everywhere. I am also interested in human connection, this is what led me to become interested in the way travel affects humans. I am even more specifically interested in tourist’s interactions with the native people.

One place that friendly stranger interactions are found is Australia, described in Erin B. Taylor’s article “Hug, hit, or ignore? Cultural differences in dealing with strangers”. In Australia complete strangers will share conversations about almost anything including their deepest dreams and desires. The “men will even talk to strangers while peeing into a urinal”, which would seem bizarre in places like the United States. Although people in Australia are not required to talk to each other, it is considered rude if people don’t respond when a stranger attempts to interact with them, which could cause problems for tourists.

It is not that these people are less or more friendly, but it is the culture that they grew up in. In Australia they were brought up that talking to strangers was the normal and polite thing to do. While in the United States people do not witness these types of interactions, making it feel awkward and out of place. It can even be taken to the extreme where people find these types of interactions creepy and unwanted. No matter what the interactions between strangers may be like in a culture, a tourist’s best bet is to generally be friendly to the people they interact with.