5 Things I Wish We Did More In The West

While traveling through South-East Asia & Oceania I saw people doing many amazing and beautiful things which I kinda wish we would do more of here in Western society.

What I learn when traveling I try to really implement into my own life, but once I get back home after a while I always find myself getting caught up and falling back into my old Western-conditioned habits.

Here are a few things I really appreciate about the East that I wish we would do more of here:

1. Celebrations & Appreciation Every Day

In some places it really seemed like they were celebrating something nearly every day, there was such an explosion of colors, dances and traditions – it was so beautiful to see!

Why can’t we celebrate more often? Maybe not every day, but I definitely think we can find some more opportunities to switch off the 9/5 work work work – and enjoy the moments of life a bit more.

2. Thanking & Blessing God/Life For Food, Wealth & Health

At first we didn’t understand why the shop keepers in Bali would always hit the money we gave them on their clothes, themselves, and the cashier.

When we ask they told us that they were thanking and blessing themselves, us, the clothes and the shop for the money they were given.

I’m not saying that we should start hitting our dollar bills on the shop attendants, but being more grateful and not taking all we have for granted is something I think we often forget.

3. Share & Be Friendly To Anyone

In some cultures, you share all your food with everyone in the village.

I think we should share more, and not be so afraid of always getting ripped off, or missing out. I’m not just talking in material ways, but sharing more of ourselves. We are so afraid of not being enough or being judged that we choose not to give anything at all.

In Sweden where I’m from, people are really kind and loving, but it takes a lot for them to dare showing it, or you need to wait until they are drunk.

In many Eastern countries I have found complete strangers suddenly become your friend, and seem to want to know everything about you – for no other reason than they are honestly interested, and care.

4. Prevent Illness Instead Of Waiting Until We Are Sick

In Asian countries they often have family doctors which they see regularly, even if they don’t feel sick. It’s the doctors job to keep them healthy.

In Western society we focus more on fixing something that is broken rather than preventing it from ever breaking in the first place.

The other week I tried to get an appointment with a doctor, but they wouldn’t let me do a normal check up unless I had a problem or was feeling sick. Is that crazy or what?!

5. Meditation/Relaxing Time

Somehow the 24 hours we all get per day just seem to be getting shorter and shorter, it’s simply not enough!

The world seems to be spinning faster and faster, and we never take the time to slow down and simply just breathe.

The world carries on spinning just like it always has, but the people are speeding it up in their head, creating more and more stress.

Taking some time to just breathe is something we rarely do here – so why not take a few moments to relax, and smell the roses…

What customs and ways of life have you found while traveling which you would like to introduce more into the West?

26 Responses to 5 Things I Wish We Did More In The West

  1. Martin Pelicon September 26, 2010 at 5:36 am #

    Good point, totally agree. Thanx

    • Sofia September 27, 2010 at 2:49 pm #

      You’re welcome Martin. Thanks for stopping by :)

  2. Anonymous September 26, 2010 at 5:50 am #

    Excellent and so true! That’s why I live in Thailand ;)

    • Sofia September 27, 2010 at 2:13 pm #

      I can imagine what life must be there. I know quite a few people who has lived or are living down there, I must admit that it’s tempting to move down there!

  3. Jon Gorrie September 26, 2010 at 10:25 am #

    Awesome post Sofia! So true!

    • Sofia September 27, 2010 at 2:49 pm #

      Thanks Jon, I’m gla you like it!

  4. GlobalButterfly September 26, 2010 at 4:25 pm #

    I LOVE this post and couldn’t agree more with incorperating these 5 things into your life. Especially #4, since I’m an Acupuncturist.

    • Sofia September 27, 2010 at 2:22 pm #

      Acupuncture is amazing, it’s the only thing that helped my mum after she had tried everything. It’s something I’d like to learn how to do myself!

      • GlobalButterfly September 27, 2010 at 2:26 pm #

        That’s wonderful to hear!!! Really, you’re thinking of becoming an
        Acupuncturist??? It’s such a long program (5 year year-round), but it’s SO worth
        it!

        In a message dated 9/27/2010 10:22:39 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
        writes:

        Sofia (unregistered) wrote, in response to GlobalButterfly:

        Acupuncture is amazing, it’s the only thing that helped my mum after she
        had tried everything. It’s something I’d like to learn how to do myself!

        Link to comment: http://disq.us/newue

        • Sofia September 28, 2010 at 9:35 am #

          Wow, that’s a long time!
          I’m really into alternative medicine, and have been reading quite a few books lately. It’s really interesting!

          I want to help people with their health, and I believe that alternative medicine is the best way to go.
          I think what you’re doing is great, I read on your FB a while ago that you helped a woman get pregnant – amazing!

          • GlobalButterfly September 28, 2010 at 12:10 pm #

            Yes, very long time, but it’s such a complicated and intricate medicine,
            PLUS you must learn everything about Western Medicine as well. That is the
            language your patients will be speaking. If you are very serious about
            going to Acupuncture School lets talk on the phone or by chat some day and I
            will tell you all about it. I think you’d make an amazing healer!!!

            My specialties are Auto-Immune Disorders and Pain Management, but I have
            been treating lots of patients with Infertility lately and have been getting
            AMAZING results. :)

            In a message dated 9/28/2010 5:35:28 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
            writes:

            Sofia (unregistered) wrote, in response to GlobalButterfly:

            Wow, that’s a long time!
            I’m really into alternative medicine, and have been reading quite a few
            books lately. It’s really interesting!

            I want to help people with their health, and I believe that alternative
            medicine is the best way to go.
            I think what you’re doing is great, I read on your FB a while ago that you
            helped a woman get pregnant – amazing!

  5. Anonymous September 26, 2010 at 3:19 pm #

    Fantastic list! I completely agree with you on all of these. Especially the doctor one–I’ve heard you only pay your doctor in Asia if you are healthy (since that means they’ve done their job well)? Is that true? What a concept! It ticks me off no end that my insurance doesn’t cover things like vitamins to keep me from getting sick, but they’re happy to pay for pharmaceuticals once I am sick. It’s crazy. I also like the idea of celebrating more often. Even when we have holidays where we’re supposed to be mindful of our blessings, they turn into just a “day off from work”. We’re a pretty sad society, if you think about it.

    • Sofia September 27, 2010 at 2:17 pm #

      Yes, I’ve heard that too! Perhaps things have changed a little, but I’m pretty sure it used to be that way and the mindset behind it is still there today.

      You’re so right, few people even know why they have a day off, and nobody really cares either. It loses all the magic and specialness!

  6. Carlo Alcos September 26, 2010 at 5:35 pm #

    Can’t argue with any of that.

  7. Shawn Brandow September 26, 2010 at 10:52 pm #

    Really loving this article. You hit home on a lot of things that we could do more here in America. While it is true there are a lot of celebrations elsewhere, we tend to have a quieter time. We have BBQ’s and family get-togethers. Some families don’t do anything outside the home. Which is a shame really because this country could have so much to offer. Maybe it would be a better place if we just got together more often.
    Back when Katrina fell on top of us when we lived in Mississippi, the whole neighborhood got together and well all helped each other clear the roads of trees and debris. After it was all over, we got back to our regular lives, not even talking to our neighbors. It’s a shame what a disjointed community we have become.

    • Sofia September 27, 2010 at 2:48 pm #

      It’s the same here in Scandinavia, we don’t get together with people unless it’s a catastrophe or you already know them. I wonder what we’re so afraid of?

      We also only tend to hang out with people in our age group, which is a shame because I think everyone would have such a great time hanging out in a mixed group with people in all ages – we’re not all that different after all :)

  8. Amanda Williams September 26, 2010 at 7:23 pm #

    These are all great lessons to take away from other parts of the world.

    I lived in New Zealand for almost 5 months a couple of years ago, and the lesson I took away from there was their “no worries” attitude. I suppose it goes along with your point #5. I feel like in the West (and the U.S. especially), we’re so obsessed with overtime and big paychecks and work, work, work, that we end up stressing over a lot more than is necessary. I’ve tried to hold on to that laid-back NZ attitude, and it’s helped put a lot of things into perspective!

    • Sofia September 27, 2010 at 2:40 pm #

      I couldn’t agree more. The kiwi attitude really is more layed back than most other western countries – I love it!
      I wonder what makes them so down to earth, and the rest of us so stressy?

  9. Ordinary Traveler September 27, 2010 at 3:55 pm #

    I love the Balinese customs. Everywhere we walked we would find prayer offerings covering the streets. I would love to see more people taking time to relax and enjoy life in the US. It would be great if employers encouraged this too.

    • Sofia September 28, 2010 at 9:37 am #

      I agree, I honestly think that people would actually work more effectively if they could get some time to relax or do some yoga or have a massage at work for an hour a day or so. I know that some places offer that now, it’s great!

  10. Sarah Wu September 27, 2010 at 7:13 pm #

    I love this post a lot, because everything you mention is so true. We should be thanking God/Life for everything we have. Sometime we take things for granted, like school, food, clothes and even internet. Kids in dominican doesn’t get to have full-time school like us in the State because of the budget (Yet kids here want to have half day everyday loll). I’ve been a New Yorker for a long time, and I always hear people say NYer are mean or not friendly. I think we should all be nice and friendly to everyone and I agree with you on #3. Overall great post!

    • Sofia September 28, 2010 at 9:48 am #

      Thank you Sarah! Yeah it’s pretty crazy how much we take for granted, and I think you realize that even more when traveling.
      Traveling keeps me reminded of how lucky I am :)

      • Sarah Wu October 3, 2010 at 7:56 am #

        Yes, I agreed!

  11. Jenny September 28, 2010 at 4:06 pm #

    I couldn’t agree more. I think in the West we take too many things for granted and don’t appreciate people/things as much. Traveling really made me realize and appreciate the things I have in life and that has always stayed with me.

  12. Antoine Leporc November 22, 2010 at 9:08 am #

    Awesome post! “Appreciation Every Day” that is so true! the different points you listed are just the result of what you realized once your discovered other part of the world. Just the result of being more open minded, tolerant…

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