Travel makes you an interesting person. I am that person.
When you’ve been as many places as I have, you begin to see the similarities between them. For instance: in both Cairo and Toronto, you indicate that you want your towels washed by leaving them on the floor. But in Tokyo, you pay extra for that service.
My travels have taught me more than just bathroom etiquette though. I can say “where is the ice machine?” in eleven different languages, and “thank you” in two. I can also mime eating a breakfast buffet in any tongue.
I’ve met so many wonderful people, all of whom exist to serve me. Some of my dearest friends live on the opposite side of the globe. Always cleaning my bedroom, or asking if I want my bedroom cleaned. I miss them.
I’ve been to Rome, where they have great pizza; and Beijing, where they have equally good pizza. The pizza I had in Paris was fine, but neither the shampoo nor the fridge was miniature. And they didn’t have ABC Family, so I slept in the airport.
But all cultures—even horrible French ones—value reading. I know this because anywhere I travel, there is a book recommendation left on my bedside table. And every single time it’s the Bible.
You can learn a lot about a place from the way they treat you towards the end of your stay. It always feels like betrayal when my receptionist friends pull out a bill, and I imagine it must feel like betrayal when I turn and run away.
But I’m not going to pay for friendship. I won’t do it. I decided that years ago, back when I still had a real passport.