We all have our set ideas and opinions about other cultures, countries and ethnicities. These are called stereotypes, shoved into our heads by media, a broken education system, family and other factors sometimes beyond our control.

The French are rude, drink a lot of wine, the Germans are like soldiers and want to dominate Europe, the Russians are drunkards and the Scandinavians are all socialists. The list of wrong and often insulting stereotypes is long and seems to grow longer by the day.
Racism flourishes when people refuse to open their eyes and minds and travelling is one of the best cure if not the only one. Tribal mentality and narrowmindedness thrive when travelling has come to a halt as it has now during these pandemic times.
Once people travel abroad and experience other countries and cultures, they realize that their own culture might not be the best there is and other people are humans as well with same joys and worries with same goals and desires.
Seeing with own eyes what other cultures have achieved over the millennia, talking to locals and learning a new language are all damaging blows to the stereotyping attitudes. People want to be friends, all over the world will befriend you if you show respect and admiration for what they achieved and will open themselves up to learn about your own culture thus pushing off the cliff misunderstandings, dislike and hate. Not all locals will become or wish to become your best pal but the majority will treat you with respect and admiration for making and effort to visit their country and why not mumble a few words and phrases in their native tongue.
First world countries seem to disregard and look down on less fortunate nations forgetting that all humans are connected and even all life on this planet is related and comes from the very same ancestors.
Politicians, clergy and military have their own agenda to justify their presence and wealth while often supporting stereotypes favoring their own nation and religion.
So, let’s spend our time and money not acquiring exclusively stuff we don’t need but use some of these to travel and learn.

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Stockholm, Sweden