Have you ever noticed how people behave nowadays? How many people are focused on themselves and not on others? How everyone is busy on their phone? And how this can differ for cultures?

This is what I’ve been seeing a lot lately. The opportunity to travel, to move to France for 7 months and to be in several totally different cultures, gave me a wider insight in todays society. The Netherlands has a very digitalised, modern and business focussed culture, Aix-en-Provence is the more rich and business culture while the Gorges du Verdon is more a type of hippie/down to earth culture.

I like to look around when I am travelling, putting my phone away and seeing how people behave, to learn from other people’s behavior and guessing about what they do for beautiful things in their life. Because if we think about this, isn’t it strange that we are the only living being that invented things as machines, money and many more of those things? That we have a totally different type of surviving system? Looking at the behavior of people gave me a lot of ‘people knowledge’ and knowledge about certain cultures, but it also surprised me about some things, especially when I was putting the behavior of different cultures next to each other.

What I noticed here in the Netherlands was that people do not think that much about others anymore, which is a shame because we are living in the same world and in order to be able to make something great we need teamwork, other experiences and other types of knowledge. An example is that almost every time I am waiting for the train or metro, people are all over the railway platform, the train arrives, and people walk to the doors, but first the people in the train or metro need to come out, to make it all easier you’d think to step to the side right? To give people space? But… what people are doing is the contrary, they are standing in front of the door which makes it harder for people to get out, just because they want to get in so much… But they will not get in sooner because it will only take longer for all those people to get out... Another thing is that we do not say Hello anymore to many people, how nice is it if you are walking to the supermarket, you cross someone, and the person nicely greets you with a smile? Somehow this makes us feel connected, like we are part of a community.

In Aix-en-Provence I noticed there are a lot of kind people, who want to help people in their society, but also a lot like the cliché ‘rich environment’, not looking at others, just doing their thing. Example: I had an old grandma with a Gucci bag who stopped cars in the middle of the road with her stick so she could cross the street (10 meters to the left was a crosswalk..), and this is not that I’m judging but it’s different that I am used to, it surprised me at that moment. Actually it is the most mixed environment I have noticed till now. Because I also saw a lot of people doing together, and as the southern French culture they really believe that you should profit from life, take a big break, lunch at home or outside with the office, not forgetting the wine of course. But I noticed a lot of people judging, about looks, about where people are from and about what people have already done in life or what age they have. Which is a shame because the inside of a person can be totally different, age is just a number because it depends on what the person did in its life, how he or she takes up things that happens around him or her and what their perception of certain things is. Different from the Netherlands I recognized that in the South of France many more people say hello and smile when meeting strangers. What this did to me? It made me feel welcome, accepted, part of the community, and this little gesture could make my day.

Have you ever noticed how people behave nowadays? How many people are focused on themselves and not on others? How everyone is busy on their phone? And how this can differ for cultures?

In the Gorges du Verdon I recognized, and I have always recognized a different culture. I see it more as a ‘hippie culture’ – which I ADORE – but what do I actually mean with that? What is a hippie nowadays? You can see a hippie as external looks, long hair, maybe dreads, clothes from the 60’s, round glasses, peace signs. But a hippie can also be a person with a certain state of mind people who believe in peace, in enjoying life, in not judging others, wearing whatever you want, and you are feeling comfortable in and living life with is close to nature. The meaning for you about something is based on the experiences that you have with the subject, the things you heard or read about it or maybe films or series which gave you a certain perception about it. To me this is enjoying life, YOUR life, following your dreams, accepting people as how they are – because why judge about someone’s life? Cause it is theirs and if they like something in their live, well great! If you don’t like it then just don’t do it in yours

So, don’t forget to put your phone away sometimes, smile and say hello. It can change the day of people :)

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