Culture Shock: What Is It and How Can You Get Over It?

When you travel, you’re more likely to get culture shock. If you’re unsure of what culture shock is but you want to be prepared for it before you head off to pastures new, this guide can help you. Here, we’re going to look at what culture shock is and how you can get over it.

What Is Culture Shock?

Culture shock is where you are thrown out of your daily routine, and into a place with a brand new culture and different attitudes. Things are no longer familiar; gestures, tone of voice, how we wait in lines, how people interact, etc. These things rely on collectively understood cultural cues – they are the norm for us and we don’t really pay attention to them. We are hyper aware of things that are different in other countries because they are so different from our norm. You may not have literal shock, but you may feel disorientated and struggle to process the changes. However, there are usually a few stages to culture shock that you should be aware of.

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Stages Of Culture Shock

    • The honeymoon stage – you’ll probably notice the similarities and be charmed by the differences at this stage.
    • The negotiation stage – the honeymoon feelings will diminish and you’ll get more annoyed at things you’re not used to, you might even become confused, angry, and scared.
    • The adjustment stage – you can relax and come to terms with how different things are.
  • The mastery stage – you reach a high level of comfort in this new place and your routine is more natural to you.

Just know that there will come a time when you feel more comfortable – the uncertain stages won’t last forever!

Dealing With Culture Shock

Now let’s talk about dealing with culture shock.

Learn as Much As You Can Before You Travel – make sure you learn as much as you possibly can about a place before you travel. Read up on different reviews and forums, and watch YouTube videos. You’ll get a good idea of what to expect, and hopefully, the shock won’t be too severe.

When You Arrive, Write Down What You Love – as soon as you arrive, write down what you love about the place. Maybe you love the hustle and bustle of Downtown L.A., or how friendly the people are in South East Asia. Write down as many things as you can so that you can look back on it when you’re feeling low.

Find A Healthy Distraction – find a distraction to help you deal in the tough stages. You could work out. listen to a podcast, read a book, or do something else you enjoy.

See If You Can Talk To Others About How You Feel – you may be able to find other travellers and talk to them about it, or there are always forums you can use.

Are you ready to deal with culture shock after reading this, or have you experienced it already? Leave your comments below!

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Things to do in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is one such dream destination, that narrowing down to the best of all the fun activities becomes quite a task. The lush green jungles, the exotic bird life, pristine unspoilt beaches and the spectacular scenery all go into making this country a paradise for holiday makers and nature lovers alike.

 

This striking and diverse terrain which is a heady combination of sun, outdoor fun and nature offers something or the other to every traveler, right from the Pacific coast to the Northern plains. Stunning Costa Rican villas amidst jungles and beautiful valleys, make for perfect retreats.

 

To make it easy for the first time visitor, some of the leading attractions of this enchanting country are highlighted here.

 

NICOYA PENINSULA

 

A four hour drive from San Jose will bring you to the northwestern tip of Costa Rica where the Nicoya Peninsula extends right up to the Pacific coast. The sparkling shoreline which is all of 80 miles long, offers a plethora of fishing, cattle ranch communities, mixed with trendy restaurants and hotels which have sprung up to cater to the influx of the increasing number of tourists that throng here round the year.

 

ARENAL VOLCANO

 

Every year, between the months of February and April, visitors come in hordes to have some of the best undisturbed views of one of the most active volcanoes of the world, namely, Arenal Volcano. Standing 5000 feet above sea level, this constant spewing mountain can be viewed in its splendor from the Arenal Observatory Lodge, which occupies a vantage point.

 

The base village of Fortuna, offers perfect opportunities to viewers to access Arenal, and fog or no fog, travelers come here in numbers to enjoy the experience.

 

BIRDWATCHING

 

From toucans,macaws, parrots and a host of tropical birds, Costa Rica with around 800 different bird species, is a mecca for birders. The top bird spots around the towns of Arenal, Puerto Viejo, Osa Peninsula and Montverde are all a haven for naturalists. Many hotels provide conducted tours with an expert guide to take enthusiasts bird watching either through forest hikes or from observation towers.

 

TORTUGUERO NATIONAL PARK

 

Accessible only by boat or a light airplane, the TORTUGUERO NATIONAL PARK is located in the North Eastern part of Costa Rica and is an extremely popular tourist destination. The major attraction here are the phenomenal sightings of endangered species of turtles, like the green turtle, hawksbill and other varieties that come onshore during the breeding season in their thousands to lay their eggs.

 

CORCOVADO NATIONAL PARK

 

This biologically rich rainforest area is home to some of the most exotic animal species like the jaguar, anteaters, tapirs, a diverse bird life with the water bodies sheltering crocodiles and bull sharks.The abundance of mangrove swamps are reminiscent of scenes from any popular nature film.

 

GUANACASTE

 

Nestled on the border with Nicaragua, this area is home to sleek resorts and luxurious retreats along the Pacific coast. Rainforest, Savannah and an active Rincon de la Vieja volcano, leaves visitors spoilt for choice while visiting Guanacaste.

 

TRAVEL ON HORSEBACK

 

Simply one of the best way to see the beaches and mountains of Costa Rica is on horseback.Though locally a common activity, visitors today can visit almost any popular destination, especially in Guanacaste. Horses can be hired from the local farmers at a nominal charge and are great options while visiting beach towns, such as Samara, Tamarindo or Montezuma.

 

SUNSET CRUISE

 

One of the most relaxing and romantic activity along the Pacific coast is to go on a sunset cruise along the many beautiful beaches. Towns like, Playas del Coco,Playa Tamarindo and many others offer this excursion to let visitors get a feel of the ocean and view marine life. Snorkeling equipment, water, snacks and drinks are all included in this super romantic activity.

 

GO ON A ROAD TRIP

 

Embarking on a journey by road through Costa Rica is a breathtaking experience. It allows one to venture off the beaten path and explore the cities and its surroundings in a more natural and authentic manner. A trip through Central Valley for example, offers stunning landscapes and let’s the motorist experience the small town life and taste local cuisine which otherwise is not possible in the more touristy zones.

 

FINCA 6

 

Located in the Osa Peninsula, is a unique UNESCO world heritage site dedicated to spheres made of stone. Though their origin and purpose have still not been established even till today, this mysterious site is a great attraction and of incredible interest.

 

CATARATA DEL TORO

 

Dropping from a height of 270 feet, this stunning waterfall is the tallest in Costa Rica. Located inside an extinct volcanic crater in the Central Valley, the steps down the waterfall offer a great walk and close-up views of the cascading water. The waterfall can be reached while driving to La Fortuna from San Jose. Private cabins are available for overnight stay at this reserve.

 

RAINFOREST BY TRAM

 

This is the ideal way to see the rainforest from close for those who cannot hike or endure strenuous excursions. The tropical jungle unfolds a variety of bird and animal life and the guide is always ready with the names of the different flora and fauna. The tram passes through many vantage points which offer stunning views of the rainforest. This facility is available at Arenal and Monteverde, while there is one on the Caribbean side and Jaco as well.

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7 Travel Safety Tips For Women

Traveling around the world is always going to be a daunting prospect, but for women, there are additional precautions that should be considered. It is perfectly possible for a woman to travel around the world on her own, but it is important to take your personal safety seriously.

 

Research Thoroughly

The more you know about the place you’re heading to, the more you will be able to prepare yourself. Research the customs and culture of your destination and make sure that you understand any special requirements regarding dress and conduct. No one likes feeling like their rights are being taken from them, but if you travel and act in defiance of local customs on principle, you are potentially placing yourself in grave danger. No matter how strongly you might feel, the consequences are not worth it for the sake of foregoing local dress codes.

 

Keep Your Valuables With You While in Transit

Many of us travel with tablets, laptops, and smartphones these days. Thieves know when these items are most vulnerable, particularly during transit. Whenever you are traveling on a plane, a train, or even a bus, especially if you will be sleeping, keep your valuables close by so that they can’t be disturbed without your knowledge.

 

Only Take What You Need

The lighter you travel, the easier you will travel. Having less stuff make it easier for you to pack up and move if you feel unsafe. If you are bogged down by lots of baggage, you could potentially find yourself in a situation where you have to abandon some of your luggage.

 

Don’t Be Too Trusting

When traveling, you will naturally want to make friends. We all like having company. Other people will provide you with great comfort on the road, and you will hopefully make lots of new friends. However, you must always be wary. Apply the same caution that you would at home, perhaps even a little more so.

 

Be Careful With Alcohol

Alcohol is the architect of bad decisions. There’s nothing wrong with going out and having fun, but remember that, in addition to the usual cautions you need to take with alcohol, you will also likely be in unfamiliar territory. This makes you even more vulnerable.

 

Be Prepared to Spend More

If you are willing to spend a little bit more, you can often secure a little additional safety and security. For example, when it comes to choosing an appropriate means of transport, the cheapest option will be walking, but this is also the most dangerous. On the other hand, driving yourself leaves you in control but will incur the most costs.

 

Always Have Plans

You should always aim to plan ahead as you travel. This will make it possible for you to check out any areas you are heading to before you reach them. For example, if you are traveling around the US and looking for baseball-related places to visit, Theplanetofbaseball.com can help you learn more about this fun sport, so you can plan some great days out.

Travel is all about having fun and experiencing new things. It is a wonderful experience and something that all of us should do at some point. Traveling safely is easy as long as you prepare beforehand.

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Bathe In The Sun At….

Summer in Samal

When we went home to the Philippines for a month long, very much needed vacay, my husband and I decided to book a weekend stay in the Island Garden City of Samal or IGaCOS, the Paradise Island Park and Beach Resort. This is our childhood favorite resort. Since we were kids this resort has been like a… well… a paradise. It seemed like the name Paradise Island was synonymous to GREAT FUN.

Paradise Island Park and Beach Resort is located at Barangay Caliclic, Babak district Samal Island. Please note that Samal Island used to be a part of Davao City before it was declared a city of its own on 30th January 1998; some websites though, still use the old address. This resort can be reached via a boat ride from a port in Sasa Wharf Davao City to the resort or via a Ferry if you so choose to bring your vehicles to the Island with you.

In general, we had a pleasant experience. My husband and I definitely had a great time at the beach. We love the powdery white sand, the blue clear water, and the fresh air. At that time there were only a few guests, so it felt like we had the beach to ourselves. It felt like paradise.

However, there were a few inconveniences.

For example, checking in was quite a hassle as the resort is quite strict with a lot of things. They do have a rule book that you need to familiarize with or else your stay will be ruined. Checking the bags to make sure you have no food, drinks and/or spirits brought with you, as one of the rules in the book says “NO FOOD AND DRINKS FROM OUTSIDE ARE ALLOWED”, was a bit annoying.

It was like we were being searched in a detention camp rather than a resort. Children under 12 years have additional fees. It was quite saddening especially when all the other resorts especially resorts in Thailand would consider them free.  The food and snacks in the resort are delicious but rather expensive. The drinks and spirits are downright overpriced.

And then there is this, no swimming pool. When we were kids it was OK because we never really had any idea about it, but now that we have gone to other resorts it seems like a pool is a given.  Our kids were extremely disappointed. They love hanging around the pool. In fact it is the very first thing they always look for whenever we check in on a hotel/resort.

I guess we sort of overlooked this. We were probably unconsciously expecting it after all these years. Anyway, the beach was irresistibly inviting, even to the kids.  They had so much fun that they didn’t want to get out of the water.  That reminded me of our childhood days. It was a blast.

If you are the kind of person who wants coffee in the morning just right after waking up… you’d be disappointed to know that there are no hotspots or whatsoever in the rooms. I know it’s not really a necessity for everyone but it’s kind of good to have just in case you need one. No refrigerator. Yup… you heard me right. There is no freakin fridge. So if you bought a large bottle of soda or bottled water from the bar or restaurant, drink it while it’s cold. It’s not a deal breaker but it is definitely disappointing since these are the kind of amenities even cheap hotels offer.

But then again when we got to our room that morning Lo and Behold… The room was really clean. The toilet was well maintained. We were able to breathe a sigh of relief as my husband and I are really particular about cleanliness. We have had very bad experiences with hotel rooms even with the pricey ones in Bangkok and in Penang Malaysia. The beddings, the mattress, the floor under the bed are well dusted. We are very particular about this since my husband and kids are all asthmatic.

We’ve been to quite a few resorts and hotels may it be for long vacay or just a weekend getaway, all these accommodations have their own good and bad points.  Nothing is perfect as they say.  But perfection is relative to one’s needs and preferences.

So, Paradise Island Park and Beach Resort despite its imperfection and the inconveniences we had, it was still a GREAT experience generally speaking.

Have you been to any of the beautiful beaches in the Philippines? How was it?

I’ll Return Back Your LOVE

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Unbeautiful Side of Being an Expatriate

life of an expat
Unbeautiful Side of Being An Expatriate

 

Being an expat has both beautiful and unbeautiful sides to it.

One of these is, we get to enjoy special occasions of loved ones like birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, reunions, and weddings on photos and videos.  Although there are real time videos like skype, this could never replace personal, physical interactions.

Second, what’s in and new back home, we only get to know these from photos and news feeds.  We’d have to wait for a vacation to actually see, feel, and experience these changes.

Third, we can’t help but long for some things that we love dearly – like our favorite snacks and our preferred soap and moisturizer. We once tried shipping them directly from the Philippines, but we stopped because the cost is just insanely expensive. However, I found a better, cheaper, and easier way. I found them, from this site.

 

What do you miss about your country?

 

Let’s link up and get more traffic to our blogs.

 

 

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Our Family’s Precious Weekend 3

 

 

Phuket, Thailand
The Family Went to Phuket

 

 

The Family went to Phuket.

phuket 2

Planning for a relaxed, laid-back, nature-themed getaway? Don’t go to Phuket.

Phuket is not really a very romantic and relaxing place to go to.  A lot of people for sure will disagree with me on this.  This is my stand, though.  Prior to going there, I had the same idea as most people. But after two trips to Phuket, I already know that it is no place for relaxation.

Don’t get me wrong! Phuket is a nice and very progressive city. It is one of Thailand’s business hubs. But for a long-awaited and well-deserved vacay with your special someone or your family, I hardly think Phuket is the right place.  If you are planning to go there to have quality time or to relax, I don’t think Phuket is the place.

Heavy traffic is one of the worst that I have experienced.  You can’t go to a temple and expect to get out within an hour because you will be spending quarter to a half an hour getting through and another 15 to 20 minutes looking for space to park.  From a distance the scenery is really spectacular with the eye-catching, well-designed villas on the mountain slopes and beautiful hotels by the beach, but if you take a closure look the water is full of rubbish. The water is dangerous and not suitable for swimming for kids, even for me. LOL. The strong rush of the waves towards the shore is quite typical but what really scared us the most was when the water recedes back to the sea it sucks you back so strong that you have to dig your feet deep into the sand to avoid stumbling over. We have been to many beaches. We live near a beach in our home town Davao in the Philippines but we have not experienced such pull by a receding wave. So, we have to stay really very near the shore. Very near that it is as if you are already swimming in sand. I particularly did not enjoy my swim.  I was worried and desperately trying to take all the sand from my skin the whole time.  I was stressed instead.

There are a lot of big shopping malls, bars, spas, and restaurants, though.  But for me these are just side dishes.  The main course, which is the reason why we went there in the first place isn’t what exactly as advertised.  It did not meet our expectation of clean, relaxing, and tranquil nature.

If I’d go back to Phuket, it would definitely be for a different reason other than vacay.  I would recommend Ao Nang Krabi and Island hopping for your vacay here.

No wonder I don’t remember that much of Phuket except the fact that we spent most of our time in the car.

What is your idea of Phuket?

Leave your comments and creative responses below ^_^

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Koh Lipeh

One of the best islands I’ve been to in Thailand is Koh Lipeh.  Koh meaning Island, so the island of Lipeh.

My friends and I had a blast. We always have smiles in our faces every time we reminisce those moments.  We went there by super speedboat. It was damn scary. It felt like we were just gliding up and down the big waves.  There were few times when it felt like the boat was falling especially after a big wave.  I had the same feeling when I first went on a Ferris Wheel back in my primary years, which I swore never to ride again. Anyway, the ride was super fast.  It could dry your mouth, and blow your saliva into the air whenever you speak. My gosh… the wind was so strong it could distort your face. LOL!

Thankfully though we got there in one piece!

As you approach the island this beauty will welcome you.  This long stretch of super white, powdery sand is Pattaya Beach.  It is Lipeh’s main beach. The sparkling, crystal clear water is good for snorkeling right from the beach.

There are so many cottages to choose from. There are cottages near the shore, and the expensive ones up on the hill. The locals and resort owners are welcoming, you can even bargain.  The cordial owner allowed us (4 guests) to rent a cottage which is good for two. So we were able to do more activities on the island than what our budget could afford.

Night life in Koh Lipeh is as exciting as Krabi.  There are many restaurants and bars to choose from.  They are not very strict about the number of drinks you order. As long as you order something, they are a OK with that.

Other time-worthy activities that will give you good memories for a lifetime are snorkeling and island hopping.  It’s a whole day activity where a long tail boat will take you to different islands from any point in Koh Lipeh to surrounding islands.  You can snorkel at the middle of the sea, or swim once you reach the islands. Be sure to bring your underwater camera. There were many corals and fish. The water is clean and clear.  It’s totally an experience of a lifetime.

Or if you don’t feel like doing these, you can just stay on the island..lay down by the beach and watch the beautiful sunset.

 

The best time to go there is August to April.  From May to July, sea waves are gigantic.

I am so glad I was able to do this.  It felt good. I feel good recalling those days. The relax and care-free feeling chillaxing in Koh Lipeh which lingers long after gets you through another semester of hard-work.  I would say Koh Lipeh is one of the best places to unwind away from the hustle and bustle of city life such as that of Phuket, Bangkok, Hatyai, and Nakhorn Sri Tammarat.

Have you been to any place in Thailand? Which one did you enjoy the most?

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