Travel stereotypes always make good writing topics. On one hand, we hate stereotyping because we are told that “cultured people don’t use stereotypes”. On the other hand, there is no question that observations become stereotypes because they are based on accurate reality. And isn’t travel supposed to be about observing reality?
I came across a funny piece, entitled “The Worst Tourists in the World” by Rolf Potts talking about the British obsession with stereotypes of national character, roughly outlined below:
- Americans: Ignorant. Loud. Oblivious to surroundings. Insincere.
- French: Rude. Bigoted. A trifle out of touch with reality.
- Germans: Humorless. Rule-obsessed. Unfriendly. Stubborn.
- Israelis: Rude. Cheap. Arrogant. Cliquish.
- Canadians: Exactly like Americans, but more soft-spoken, more polite, less ignorant, and twenty times more boring.
Well, there you have it. Of course, you are all different!
I think stereotypes are actually really helpful, if used wisely. For example, if every American/French/German…could look above and try to NOT be all those things, the world would be a better place. Although, arguably, not as funny.