Saturday, October 11, 2014

Tip of the Day: Have Fun and...Conceal Your Nationality

Today's Tip of the Day is to have fun...and go out of your way to conceal your nationality:).

As most of you know, I've lived abroad most of my adult life, which generally amounts to roughly 25 years.

In all that time, I've endeavored to play an enjoyable game with myself which essentially amounts to endeavoring to conceal...from which country I originate.

Although I've gone on a ton of "fun" trips abroad, often concurrent with work-related tasks,  I've always played a game with myself to leave people sitting around me…en-route to a destination…wondering where I'm from.

Most of the time, I've been pretty successful in "keeping folks in the dark."

Why do I do this? It's simple. Most Americans are generally perceived as "loud, boisterous, self-centered and gadget-oriented," at least when observed in like-minded groups.

I'm simply trying to change perceptions:).

With few exceptions, I generally work alone, although I have traveled occasionally with groups, both multinational as well as infrequently being in the company of others from the US.

In all honesty, I prefer traveling alone because I can read my Kindle, review work documents, listen to music, work in reducing jet lag…and sleep.

So…your task for the next week is to experiment with "blending into the woodwork" and seeing how successful you can be at puzzling those sitting around you as to where you come from. 

Roughly 80% of the time I'm successful in concealing where I come from. In my book, that's definitely a positive.

Some tips to consider in "playing this game":

1. Don't wear any logos or apparel that gives your nationality away;

2. Wear an inexpensive athletic watch that has a dual-time zone feature;

3. To confuse your seat-mates, when you're abroad, have some apparel made abroad, preferably in a developing country where costs are manageable;

4. Dress casually;

5. Avoid brand-name back-packs and totes;

6. Don't predominantly display your passport for others to observe;

7. Use a back-pack to carry your laptop and peripherals;

8. Another thing that really helps is speaking a couple of foreign languages well, so as to further confuse perceptions; and

9. Don't speak to others unless they speak to you.

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