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Forced to do something?

DavidAM

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  • Added on: June 7th, 2011
So how does this work? What if you're just not up to do or eat something? If you say no and you're forced isn't that really just disrespectful of that person in that culture. I assume many travelers are just so open to new experience that they just say Yes not even thinking twice about this. But if someone is really forcing you to try something and you don't want to, what do you do? I'm sure there's a huge discussion that we're all having internally about travel and the mark we leave on other people and their culture. But shouldn't they be respecting us just the same?

I've never traveled solo internationally so I don't know these things. But what have been your experiences? And what do you all think? I'd like to be educated on this a little.
"Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become."

Sea of Derailments - http://davidamis.wordpress.com
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Scritch

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  • Added on: June 7th, 2011
I've never been "forced" to do anything. Most people are good-natured enough to respect your own personal beliefs and preferences. So I'm confused at what you consider forced.

Someone being excited or insistent isn't forcing you to do anything. If you're not capable of politely telling people "no", that is more of a personality issue than a deficiency of another party or culture, and that's something to work on. Life is full of people who want you to do things you don't want to do, and part of being in the wide world is learning how to handle those situations in an adult manner. Otherwise, and this may be useful anyway, you should develop a thicker skin.

So be polite. If you're comfortable with it, try a bite. If it really doesn't suit you, thank the other party and then firmly decline. You'll be surprised at how often people are just happy you tried something.

I'm a shockingly picky eater, but I still try to sample foods people recommend to me when I travel. In Mexico City I stumbled into a restaurant without the aid of my Spanish-speaking companions, and managed to order a meal mostly through smiling and gesturing. Since I had no idea what I would be getting, I tried a bit of everything at the table. Turns out that one of the foods I didn't like was cactus. The woman running the place pointed at it, I smiled and shook my head (but it was obvious I had tried a few bites), and she just smiled back and brought me something else.

But I do have my limits. I couldn't bring myself to eat a cricket, for example. Still, no one was horrified, or drove me from the town square with a flurry of thrown rocks. Next time I visit, maybe I can muster up the courage.

Being a bit adventurous helps you grow, and as someone who used to basically eat nothing but boxed and microwave dinners, I'm loathe to think of all the foods I still wouldn't eat if I hadn't tried a few mysterious dishes, usually at the encouragement of a friend or host.

If you're someone's guest, you may feel more obligated to give their recommendations a chance, but no one is going to hold you down and force kimchee down your throat.

As for whether they should be respecting travelers just the same, I'd say no one is obligated to do anything for you. You're traveling through and are a guest in their country. They have every right to be disappointed if you won't sample their culture or take their advice or decline gracefully. If they're overwhelmingly rude, you also have the right to move on, but you're certainly not entitled to a free pass on engaging local culture because you're a foreigner.

If you do a search for vegetarian or vegan, I think you'll find a lot of other related advice, everything from politely trying a single bite to explaining your dietary limitations.

I think it's good you're asking about how to handle these situations if it's truly a concern for you, but I do find it mildly humorous when contrasted with the quote in your signature.

Edit: "Forced to eat something?" may also be a more accurate topic. When I read this thread I expected a question about sexual assault or something similarly grave.

Andromeda

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  • Added on: June 7th, 2011
I agree- can't think of anytime I was forced to eat/drink something in a way where I couldn't decline if I really wanted to. Mind I felt bad a few times, but I probably worried about it being a potential slight way more than they were offended.

DavidAM

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  • Added on: June 7th, 2011
Well I'm not just asking about food. I'm wondering as well about activities and such, but I guess food is the biggest thing. I'm also not asking this as an excuse to say 'No' to every encounter I come across, I'm not adverse to trying new things on the road, hence my quote. I'm just earnestly interested in the experiences of people who have traveled abroad. I hear all the time about how people don't turn things down and I wonder if it's because things were pushed on them or they're just so open and excited. Last time I was in Hawaii I turned down a sample of a smoothie politely a few times but the woman finally yelled at me to try and watched as I drank it, then she proceeded to ask which smoothie I wanted to buy and I again politely turned it down and walked away. I mean, I'm a pretty easy going guy and I don't like confrontation. I know how to say no and I generally do feel bad sometimes. I have a pretty thick skin.
"Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become."

Sea of Derailments - http://davidamis.wordpress.com
DavidAM Bandcamp - http://davidam.bandcamp.com



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