What Europeans Could Learn From Americans
Okay, this post will slightly go off my site’s core topics and is my personal opinion. But rest assured, it will render a conclusion that benefits creativity.
I just returned from another holiday in the USA. The west coast this time. It being my 5th time in the states I start to get some interesting insights on cultural differences with Europe. In fact, differences that favor the Americans. Let me try to explain.
First of all I can’t tell people enough how beautiful this country literally is. It’s a shame that many Americans can’t find time to explore their vast countryside. This is mainly due to the few days-off people get from work. Especially compared to Europeans who get at least 5 to 10 days more per year.
Anyway, we rented a colorful camper van at Escape Campervans in LA. Their representative (Rafael) that day, was very helpful and fun to talk to. As we drove out of LA in the direction of Palm Springs we got more and more exited by our surroundings. Traffic got lighter when we passed San Bernardino and a desertlike landscape emerged itself. The small town of Banning was perfect for our first grocery shopping and overnight stay to ease of our jet lag. At both the stores and hotel we we’re helped in a very friendly matter.
Throughout our 21 day road trip we were positively struck by the way Americans treated (us) strangers. People often ask you how you are doing and where you are from. I know the lion’s share was small talk and politeness, but there where many occasions where we had over 30 minute talks with strangers who where sincerely interested. That said, this polite approach we got in the states is not common in Europe.
So, where am I going with this? I want to zero in on this attitude towards strangers. Everyone is a stranger to many, so are you. We are daily strangers when we walk into stores, hotels, visitor centers, friends of friends, etc. This happens every day. In Europe the way strangers are treated, is poor I think. Especially when compared to the USA.
Opening Doors To Creativity
The American’s friendly attitude made me feel welcome and happy. Even though it was brief sometimes, I felt comfortable. As a result I was immediately able to use my senses to enjoy my surroundings. These stunning surroundings gave me an overdose of fresh inspiration. Looking back now, their friendliness removed every possible boundary to new inspiration and creativity.
I love my home country (Holland) and love Europe with its many profound cultures that inspire me up till this day. But Americans really opened my eyes to how the interaction with strangers could improve here in Europe. As I stared to my ceiling last night, jet-lagged with bloodshot eyes, I imagined a new Holland. Where strangers are treated with a smile and with respect. As a friend almost. I saw people smiling in restaurants, in shops and on the street.