Sometimes, when you're traveling, you can get caught up in the excitement. But there's usually at least one thing that stops you in your tracks and makes you realize you're *definitely* not home anymore.
1. "In Belgium, you have to use special trash bags or they won't pick your trash up."
"And your neighbors will hate you. (I didn't know for like two weeks.)" —u/_Lemon_Stealer_
2. "In Italy, my mom gave then 10-year-old me some money, and I bought candy that had a not-insignificant amount of alcohol in it."
"We had just moved there. The alcohol didn't stop anyone from selling it to a 10-year-old kid." —u/gobroncoz
3. "In Costa Rica, the eye doctor apologized that a six-month supply of contacts would cost me US$30 since I wasn't on the national health insurance. It was the same brand I buy in the states for about $50 per month — with a good insurance paying most of the cost."
"I went to visit relatives for a few months and had lost my glasses in the ocean on the first day. They called the local optometrist and got me in the same day (since I'm super blind). We were on the west coast, and the glasses had to be shipped from the capital, which would take a few days.
So the doctor said I could buy contacts off the shelf from them right now. He apologized that If I was a resident, they would have been free. 'So sorry you have to pay the high out of pocket cost.'" —u/TheOtherKatiz
4. "In France, it's pretty rare you'll just sit down have a quick meal and continue with your day."
"Whenever I would visit family around France, I always had to remind myself of food customs. Food is meant to be enjoyed, so you take your time.
A lot of local businesses, particularly shops, close around midday to accommodate for this, so get comfortable. (Not all shops do this, but it's best to just eat midday if you visit.)" —u/whyImcalledqueen
5. "In Jordan, when the prayers broadcast loudly across the city, it was otherworldly."
6. "In Moscow, Russia, in the middle of the night, I got into a subway car that turned into a flash rave party."
"Complete with a DJ, lights, and a bar." —u/RipGrandToe
7. "In Bolivia, we were asked to get off the bus while someone ferried the entire doubledecker across a river on an antique ferry made of logs."
"It was ferried across by one guy with a 20-foot long bamboo pole." —u/LivingInATidalWave
8. "In Okinawa, Japan, I could see the top of shelves while standing in a small grocery store."
9. "In Bangkok, Thailand, I saw a family of four on a motorcycle."
"That was alarming for a midwestern American to see." —u/VaginalDeathCrabs
10. "In Madrid, they offer beer as a combo meal option at McDonald’s. The BEST difference, though, was the free tapas — if you order a drink, they bring you free food."
"Even better? Really, really good Spanish wine could be had for two euros a glass. Go bar hopping, eat all the free food, and you can skip dinner.
The one weird thing is that all these bars would be lit up like an American diner would be in the morning. I’m used to bars in the US, which tend to be very dark." —u/mst3k_42
11. "In Ireland, I was being directed by a guy into one of two lines after getting off the plane. I had no idea what he was saying. Totally bewildered in an English-speaking country."
"It got better after that. We were walking home to our B&B in Dublin one night, and this young woman came up behind me and my wife and gave us both a cheerful embrace. All I could think was, 'Do I know this girl?' But it was just a drunk young woman full of life and happy to share it." —u/rhesusfecespieces
12. "In Madagascar and Vietnam, strangers will just hand you their babies."
"Getting on the bus, hold my baby. Waiting at the mechanics, hold my baby. Having a few beers on the side of the road, baby! I've had so many instances of holding babies, and I'm not even sure who to give them back to." —u/TrondroKely
13. "In Iceland, I asked for a bottle of water. The guy just shakes his head and goes, 'You don't need that,' then filled me up a cup from the tap."
14. "In Canada, I ran into someone — totally my fault — and he said sorry first."
"This made me realize, 'Are you fucking blind?' was not the only response to it." —u/Oh_No_69
15. "In Costa Rica, I thought we had ants in our kitchen — but upon closer inspection, we realized they were very tiny crabs. The macaws we saw on a tree outside our window were also cool."
"Of course, while we were in our cab, we realized that red stoplights are treated less like, 'Wait here until the light turns green,' and more like, 'Stop your car, look both ways for other cars, and then go.' Oh, and crocodiles. Can't forget those." —u/dookamatic
16. "In Tokyo, Japan, I realized there was no trash anywhere, and it was just really clean."
"Like I wouldn't have felt bad sleeping on the ground." —u/ShareHappyness
17. "In Israel, you'd see late teens and early twentysomethings out and about, dressed for a nice dinner or whatever, with a machine gun slung over their shoulder."
"All people serve in the military for two to three years when they graduate high school. Even when they're off duty, they carry a weapon." —u/blipsman
18. "In Cairo, Egypt, traffic was the definition of pure chaos."
"Honestly, if I was driving I wouldn't have survived five minutes." —u/everythingsgreat3333
19. "In Jordan, as a kid, my very first experience there when leaving the airport was witnessing a pickup truck driving the wrong way on a highway with a goat in the back."
20. "In Budapest, it was strange to see how many men stood alone loitering in the streets. In the US, people loiter in the street in groups."
"Also, the number of extremely drunk people in the streets. I saw a guy at a bus stop fall down and pass out. No one batted an eye. Fucking loved Budapest, though. What a city." —u/PM_ME_UR_DIET_TIPS
21. "In Peru, the calendars are laid out so Monday is actually the first day on the left side of the calendar, so my spouse and I missed our bus."
"Also — pulling over in the doubledecker bus so that people could stop at an ice cream stand that a guy was running at a random point in the road, in the jungle.
Waste programs are lacking there, so it is the norm to eat your ice cream cup, and then huck it into the jungle. No one is coming to empty that garbage can that has been brimmed since forever." —u/LivingInATidalWave
22. "In Japan, my wife left her handbag on a train. We called, and they found and delivered it to her home address... on the same day."
23. "In Germany — the first time I was ever abroad — I was the first to arrive of my business group. I didn't know then that most Germans speak decent English. I had no dinner and went to bed hungry because I thought no restaurant would be able to take my order. It's that crushing isolation that impressed on me that I'm really not home and I am far from help."
"I had a greater appreciation for people who emigrate to the US for a better life. You're really dropping EVERYTHING because you want a better life or a different life. I really got why ethnic groups stick together when they're not the majority in countries.
I had a good time the rest of the trip, but it left a lasting impression on me. I've been back to Germany a few times now, and I enjoy it every time — except the eight-hour flights, Jesus Christ." —u/CliffRacer17