How to Respect Different Cultures as a Traveler

In my book, “Mootoa’s Moons: The Other Woman,” a team of intergalactic travelers land on the planet Mootoa as they require engine repairs for their space vehicle.

They noticed that the planet Mootoa was almost the same as Earth, except for significant differences. One such difference is that the women were more powerful than the men. Suffice it to say; that culture shock is one of the first immediate reactions of the Earthborn crew members.

While I don’t expect you to travel outside the planet anytime soon, you can certainly make use of these tips once COVID-19 travel restrictions are slowly receding:

1. Try to read up on the place beforehand. There are travel guides readily available in bookstores and online e-book formats. If you’re not much of a reader, check out several YouTube online from highly-rated travelers who can give you tips and tricks to make your trip memorable.

2. Be aware of the closest embassy office. In case of an emergency where you may need to head back to your country, you must know where the nearest embassy office is. Jot down their contact details and be ready with your papers when necessary. It also helps to keep a digital backup on file.

3. Get travel insurance. You can never be too safe, especially when traveling outside of your country for the first time. While the added expenses may be jarring at first, you can have the luxury of knowing you have a safety net when things go sour.

4. Pick up on useful phrases in the local language. Terms such as “Where is the bathroom?” “How much does this cost?” “Good morning” and the like shows respect to the culture while also preventing the awkward language barrier that could happen.

Preparation is always critical, especially in times like these. As many countries slowly lift their travel bans, we must also remember to practice current health protocols. Such protocols include wearing a face mask and practicing social distancing to avoid transmission. Stay safe!

Why We Should Use the Right Pronouns

June is officially pride month, where we celebrate the multiple genders and sexual identities across the rainbow. Whether you identify as part of the LGBT+ community or as a cisgender ally, it’s still important to use the correct pronouns when addressing a person.

One reason for this is that it celebrates inclusivity. While we, as a society, are slowly accepting more progressive views, many people are still uncomfortable with identifying themselves the way they want to. To celebrate our differences as a united front, using the proper pronouns can make it easier for everyone to embrace their most authentic self.

Another reason is that it shows basic decency and respect for their rights as human individuals. Acknowledging their identity as part of the world instead of an outlier is one small way of bringing us closer together.

Last but not least, it helps leverage a more progressive society. Change is inevitable, so instead of fighting a way to keep the status quo, we should all accept that while things can be “good,” they could always be better.

Now that newer generations are coming into the picture, we can help safeguard the legacy of previous LGBT+ forefathers by creating a welcoming and more tolerant society.

Here are some tips you can do first before addressing a person with their preferred pronoun:

  1. Ask them their preferred pronoun. You should never assume that a masculine-presenting person would automatically go with “he” or “sir.” This same rule applies to feminine-presenting persons who may not be comfortable with “she” or “her.”
  • Use gender-neutral words when addressing a crowd. Many speeches start with “ladies and gentlemen” or “boys and girls.” Nowadays, it’s much more inclusive to address the group as “my fellow attendees,” “my classmates,” etc.
  • Apologize when you get it wrong. It can be hard to use the correct pronouns at first. Don’t give up. Apologize and start again. You’ll find it easier to address your loved ones without alienating them in time. Keep going!