A Weekend Outside the UK

Until this point my blogs have essentially centered around life and cultural experiences in the UK and haven’t ventured outside of that topic. Though I believe to have collected and recorded plenty of interesting information during this past month, I’d now like to compare and contrast culture and lifestyle in the UK to its European counterparts.

This past weekend, if you haven’t already figured it out from the previous sentence, I traveled outside of the UK for the first time during my six-week-abroad experience . Myself and newfound friends traveled to Santorini, Greece where we were able to experience a totally new landscape and culture – a much needed break from the somewhat monotonous lifestyle I’ve developed in London. The island was beautiful; certainly my favorite travel experience of the trip thus far. The water was clear as could be, the skies blue, the people friendly, and the food delicious. Further, I truly felt as though I was on vacation for the first time in the last four weeks, which is odd considering the amount of time I’ve allocated towards traveling and new experiences . This unique sense of relaxation caused me to think: why haven’t I felt this way during my other trips or in London?

Besides the fact that I keep myself incredibly busy in London due to work, classes, exploration, etc., I decided that the foremost reason I felt so relaxed in Santorini was the pace of life. As cliche as it sounds, the vibe there is simply different, immaculate even. Everyone is on “island time,” and employs a full appreciation for the beauty of the landscape, which is rather easy to do considering its sunny location surrounded by sparkling Mediterranean waters. This laid-back feeling was refreshing compared to the constant hustle and bustle of America and central London, where its often difficult to hear your own thoughts let alone the intricacies of your surroundings. When pondering what cultural differences could explain these discrepancies, my mind immediately went to the vast variation in weather and location. This then caused me to expound upon my original question, developing a connection between geographical setting, culture, and mood.

Though every member of planet Earth has their stressful, melancholy situations to deal with, it seems as though those who live in areas of the globe with a conventionally beautiful landscape move at an easier pace: with swifter strides, a pep in their step, and a smile on their face. It makes sense too; gray, dreary skies often have a depressant effect on those underneath it, whereas a colorful and natural surrounding often lifts spirits and enables a care-free mindset. Obviously, not everyone on Earth could live in such a traditionally mesmerizing locality, but it is interesting to dwell upon the connection between natural conditions and pace of life.

Now, I’m not necessarily saying that these differences are better. Greece has historical struggled economically speaking, while cultures emphasizing aforementioned “hustle and bustle” have a tendency to be more financially stable. I do not know to what extent these differing dynamics are beneficial or detrimental to overall welfare, but the notes of cultural contrast are undoubtedly something I thoroughly observed this past weekend, and have left me with a persisting appreciation for cultural variation throughout our planet.