When In Rome

“When in Rome, do as the Romans. I have no excuse not to eat really good Italian food. All the time. Which means pizza, pasta and gelato everyday. And Romans, well they get to eat Italian food all the time.”

Walking along my first day in Rome, I began thinking about the phrase “When in Rome,” mostly because I knew I would be using it, often. One of the great things about living is having the ability to choose. There have been times in my life I’ve made a decision and worried that others will look down on me, mainly because they don’t agree with me. In those situations, I think I have to justify myself by explaining my reasoning behind said decision. Any choice that’s made, an action taken, has some sort of reason behind it.

I enjoy hearing other people’s reasons behind why they do things in certain ways. It sheds light on the human condition, it tells me how other people live their lives and sometimes I can use the same principles in my own life. That’s one of the great things about traveling. I’ve really enjoyed talking to the people I’ve met because hardly any of them are afraid of talking about difficult topics. That’s the thing about travel, it rips you open to new things. Of course, there exceptions to the rule. The other night I was talking to a few people and a girl from Australia was saying how she and a friend had overheard a conversation between two girls from the States. The girls were going on about Australia and one said that her other friend had told her that all of Australia was like Miami. The Australian girl and her friend looked at each other in disbelief.

Most people travel for the experience, to reshape the definition of normal and what it means to be human. They, we, know there is more to life than what can be found at home. When I travel, a hand reaches in, grabs ahold of my expectations and pulls them out, saying “You don’t have room for these anymore. All they are doing is holding you back from where I can take you.” Meeting new people who come from different backgrounds is fantastic. It was one of the great things about working at Starbucks and now that I’m traveling I get to meet even more people. We have conversations about education systems, health care and how it works, politics-mainly how their country’s political system is set up and sometimes my own, geography, LGBT issues and so many other great topics. And watching how other people live their lives in other countries. In Athens, I thought it was fantastic that so many people seemed to go out in the afternoon with a friend and get a drink and hang out.

Dictionary.com says “When in Rome, do as the Romans” means, “When visiting a foreign land, follow the customs of those who live in it.” What I’ve realized is that it’s less important to worry what other’s will say about my decisions. What matters is being open to new ideas, new thought’s, new ways of seeing. Being kind and willing can make all the difference.

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