As you probably already know, we are a diverse an eclectic bunch in The Alexandria Quartet, but we all enjoy experiencing different cultures as we travel as both a band and individually. We were discussing the other day our experiences in different places in the world and how does one fully experience another culture. One of our conclusions was that although we have traveled to over 80 different cities in the world, often times, we were only in that city for a few days at most. Did we fully experience that culture? We all agreed that we did not.
So how does one get the “full experience” of another culture and what does that truly mean? After a great convo over dinner, Kari, Svein, Liam and I believe that it takes a minimum of 30 days in a particular culture to begin to get the vibe of what it’s like to live there and at least 3 months of living there to get a true experience. You see, you don’t really experience the real life in a culture while there for a few days. You don’t have enough time to speak with the locals and hangout in their circles. You can’t possibly “feel” what life is like on a daily basis with work (or lack of), family life, and nightlife.
I like to connect with our fans when we are traveling on tour and they will often invite us over for a meal. It’s during these times we have the best conversations and begin to understand what life is like for them. We get to experience where they life. What their flat or house is like. What pictures they have of family (hopefully) and friends. We can taste the local food and talk about their dreams. But this is still a very limited experience unless you have extended time there and can relax and take in the surroundings.
Liam and I (Ginger) both experienced another culture in full while growing up when we both had opportunities to study abroad on exchange programs while in secondary school. Liam was in Perth, Australia for a year and I was in Phoenix, Arizona for 9 months. These were incredible experiences for us, as it was the first time we were “on our own” and we lived with another family that wasn’t ours. It broadened our view of the world that we live in. And we were immersed in a culture unlike our own in many ways, but also somewhat familiar.
I’ll write more about my experience in Arizona and all the great times I had in a future post. But I will wrap these thoughts up on experiencing another culture. A few days doesn’t give you much of an idea. It takes 30 days to start and at least 3 months, preferably 9-12 months to truly experience another culture and all it has to offer.