In the short time that I’ve traveled abroad (this is my fourth time) I’ve usually always felt like I could easily adapt to the culture and the people. So far in Norway I feel as though I fit in better than usual because much like the Norwegians I don’t like to bother people. It also probably helps that I’m mostly an introvert that needs a a good level of coaxing to crawl out of my shell.
However, traveling easily lures me out of the proverbial shell because no one knows who I am so when I’m traveling I can pretty much be anyone, which is a great comfort to me. Along with becoming a chameleon in my travels, my anxiety tends to melt away too. Especially in European countries that are vastly different from the United States.
For example, when the news of the shooting at UCLA came through my news feeds I didn’t want to cower under my blankets and never come out, which is my typical reaction when I’m at home and I get wind of yet another mass shooting in progress or has just happened. Since I am here in Norway, my immediate reaction was less cowardly and more, “No, you’re safe here.” because I really am. Even as I travel the streets here, my anxiety is calmed by the fact that the crime rate, while it exists, is very low and so I’m safer to come and go as I please without the extreme worry that I as a young woman in the United States would have to worry about if I was to do the same thing (for example, simply walking down the block to get a carton of milk) at home.
We should all be so lucky to have such thoughts.
Today (June 2nd) is National Gun Violence Awareness Day back home in the states and here in Oslo we are about to celebrate National Music Day. The complete and total juxtaposition of these events happening within the same week of each other both baffles and intrigues me because it makes me worry for my country and who may one day run it (possibly straight into the ground) if a certain party has their way.
Though this may be controversial, I agree with most of what I have learned so far about this beautiful and thriving country because even though it may not focus on the individual like the U.S. does, it does focus on making a better life for everyone through unification, and what unifies us more as humans than music, and what divides us more as humans than guns and the destruction they bring?