Am I traveling tooooo much?

Jun 15th, 2006, 10:16 AM
  #1  
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Am I traveling tooooo much?

When I first began traveling to Europe, It would amaze me that the Europeans would know I was a tourist before I even said anything. I didn't wear jeans, t-shoes, backpacks, fannypacks, ect...

After a few years of traveling, I began to notice that people would come up to me for directions so on... mistaking me as a local until I opened my mouth. This usually occurrs when I am stolling about by myself. Mind you, I am such a mutt that most people can not figure out my ancestrial roots.

I just returned from two weeks in Europe. This was a very relaxed, no itinerary trip. And I found it amazing as I would stroll about or be on a train that I would automatically recognize the locals from the tourist while they were just sitting/walking. And I am not talking the obvious tourist. I could tell which ones were Europeans on holiday before they would start talking.

Has anyone else experienced this? Or is this an indication that I am traveling to Europe far to often?
parisnow is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 10:30 AM
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Your a lucky man if you have to ask yourself that question.
brando is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 10:31 AM
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Travel to Europe too often? That concept does not compute
Margaretlb is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 10:32 AM
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I wish I had that problem!
JAGIRL is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 10:38 AM
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Brando,
Thanks for the words of wisdom. Only one problem. Yep just checked, I am all WOMAN!
parisnow is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 10:39 AM
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I live in New York City. I can tell by looking at someone if they are from New Jersey, never mind a foreign country. I'm not trying to be funny-- there are subtle differences in dress, the way one walks and pauses, physical attitude, that designates one as foreign, even if it's by only a few miles.
ellenem is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 10:46 AM
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ellenem,
That was exactly what I was trying to put into words... those subtle differences.

So what your saying is everyone approaches me with their questions, either tourist or local, because I have that subtle non-threatening approachable karma?
parisnow is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 10:54 AM
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non-threatening karma...mmmm

My first visit to France, I got asked directions and advice. Maybe it is my dark hair, light eyed coloring...
SuzieC is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 10:58 AM
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Parisnow - Last year was my third trip to Europe and I noticed more than the other two trips Iwas approached several times, asking for directions. Some in French, some in English & one person in Italian. I got a kick out of it, especially when I was able to help them out.

Madison is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 11:01 AM
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People always approach me on the street for directions, at home and on vacation. And I can usually give them the correct answer. I think they approach me for two reasons:

-- I don't look threatening. (People also always think they've met me before, so I must have a generic look.)

-- I walk like I know where I'm going, because I usually do. (I have a great sense of direction, so don't have to check maps much.)
ellenem is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 11:07 AM
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Ditto ellenem. And, I probably dress like a tourist!
starrsville is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 11:17 AM
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Every time I've been to Spain, Italy, Paris,etc i've been asked directions, it must be my colouring! I'm Irish but look more Middle Eastern. My Dad's family, a few generations back are Israeli. So I can undersatand where you are coming from Parisnow.
lucielou is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 11:32 AM
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I too have been approached many times for directions, train info at a station, etc., I honestly don't think it's because I look like a local, I think I just look like I might not sneer at them, laugh at them or lie to them!
grantop is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 11:38 AM
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I went to Europe for the first time last month and I got asked for directions 3 times and in two different countries. I think it had more to do with the fact that I was alone at the time and therefore more easily approachable more than any other reason. I doubt anyone really confused me for a local.

But I do agree with you that with some practice you can learn to identify with some certainity the nationality of an individual without them hearing them speak. Its a combination of posture, attitude, dress, hair style, facial features, maybe height or weight. When I worked as a customs inspector I always knew an individuals nationality before they handed me their passport. Many Europeans can't tell the difference between an American and a Canadian (I was traveling at times with a Canadian) but close observation will show the differences. Its a very interesting part of travel.
bennnie is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 03:33 PM
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You must have 'the look'

In Denmark, I was mistaken for a local
by locals!
enpleinair is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 04:37 PM
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amaclise
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I think it also has to do with looking like you know what you're doing in places where no one else seems too!

I especially get tingles all over when asked for directions in London. Then you answer with an American accent and they look so surprised!

Love it!
 
Jun 15th, 2006, 04:45 PM
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I've experienced this but it probably for another reason. No matter where I go, other tourists ask me for directions or for advice. I'm usually over-researched, I admit, but my daughter says it is because I look like everybody's mom. Even on trips to Europe, I have at least two kids in tow and, therefore, I must be "safe." Parisnow, maybe you just look very confident in your surroundings and have a "safe" demeanor?
Marsha is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 05:33 PM
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It happened to me in Paris. A Parisian asked me for directions... I was so pleased LOL! I don't know why it made me happy, but I felt like at least ONE person didn't automatically think 'Ugly American'
CarolA is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 05:54 PM
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"I especially get tingles all over when asked for directions in London. Then you answer with an American accent and they look so surprised!"

I don't get tingles but I find it funny that if it's a Brit asking, they somehow look stunned when they hear my accent & don't really want to accept my directions as if I couldn't possibly know what I'm talking about.

Carrybean is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 06:16 PM
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From my very first trip to Europe I have always been taken for European. Mostly Spanish or Italian(mother's actually hungarian). That is until I open my mouth and that NY accent comes out.
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