Being a native English-speaking American of European descent can be very usefull in the modern world- I can go to almost any village anywhere in the world and find at least someone who speaks my language and have a pretty good chance of finding someone who has seen the Simpsons.

But it can also get old.

Part of what I've always looked forward to about travel is the chance to have some kind of cultural exchange with completely different people. But what good is it to say, "Where I come from we have this and that tradition..." when the person you're talking to, who grew up in a yurt on the other side of the planet, says, "Yes, I know. I have seen it on Friends/Seinfeld/Baywatch."?

How can I say, "It is the way of my people," when everyone else does it the same way, or at the very least knows that it is the way of my people?

How can I ever be an explorer when my culture has reached -if not yet entirely permeated- nearly every village, hut, and shack around the world? How can I ever be anything but a tourist?

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