Are You Are a Citizen of the World?

It sounds pretty cool. Citizen of the world. You travel a lot. Some friends might think you are always on vacation. It’s another way of saying you are a seasoned traveler. What telltale signs make you a “Citizen of the World?”

  1. Your passport. You sent it back to have extra pages added. Friends sometimes ask if a natural disaster was headed your way (and your family was safe) what’s the one item you would run back in to the house to retrieve? Your always answer: “My passport.”
  2. You have a few foreign travel wallets. At least three! Why? Because the UK, continental Europe and your favorite Asian country all use different currencies. You might have a bank card for your overseas account if you own property and pay bills in that country.
  3. You don’t need a taxi to get from the airport into the city. You know which subway line runs from the airport into town. Your UK travel wallet includes your Oyster card, London’s version of NYC’s Metro card. You save a bundle on taxi fares.
  4. You have country files with maps at home. You might know the city, but a map helps. You don’t need to buy one on arrival or get the hotel’s tourist map. You have a collection.
  5. You speak another language. I fail in this regard. Many seasoned travelers have been to the same place so often, they’ve made the effort to become bilingual. They at least know enough expressions to be polite. Menu French is as far as I’ve gotten. Put another way, you don’t expect everyone, everywhere to speak English.
  6. You get asked for directions. When you travel, you dress and look the part. People on the street ask for help getting somewhere. It’s flattering. Sometimes you know, often you don’t.
  7. You own great luggage. Why? Properly maintained it lasts forever. In Europe, hotels often make judgments about you when you walk through the door. Matching designer luggage makes a statement.
  8. You tip well. This starts with the person carrying your designer luggage across the lobby. It’s one reason why you keep that foreign travel wallet supplied with local currency. People in service jobs often aren’t paid that well. You are making a difference in their lives.
  9. You stand in the short line when boarding the ship. How does this happen? You sailed the same line so many times you’ve risen up the frequent sailor’s club hierarchy. You may have booked a higher tier cabin that comes with this perk.
  10. You know exactly what cabin you want on the ship. It’s your favorite ship. Even though cabins are assembled like Lego blocks, you know a few have more space or a better location. You book early and request a specific cabin by number. You have a few favorites.
  11. You don’t sit in the general terminal area at airports. When flying to meet your ship, you are smart enough to arrive at the airport a couple of hours early. You belong to an airline club or carry the American Express Platinum card or Priority Pass gaining you access to a comfortable place to wine and dine before flying. It sets the mood.
  12. You alert your broker how to reach you when you are away. No one can accurately predict the future where the stock market is concerned. What if opportunities require immediate attention? You inform your financial advisor you will be away and how to reach you. Although e-mail is an option, you provide alternatives. They put your debit card into travel mode so you can get cash advances overseas.
  13. You treat everyone as a peer. You can afford to travel, but you don’t lord it over people, especially ship or hotel staff. You don’t have a “nothing is good enough” attitude. You treat everyone as if you will be encountering them again on another trip. You often do.
  14. You have favorite restaurants in each city. They are so good, you keep coming back. You make reservations beforehand, ideally by phone. You are a regular who has traveled a long way to dine with them. They treat you royally.
  15. You know THE ITEM to buy in each city. You buy saffron in Barcelona. Your suits are tailored in Hong Kong. You shop the flea markets of Paris. You are able to buy unique items at attractive prices because you go straight to the source.

A friend explained when you travel, you are an “ambassador for your country.” Many people in distant parts of the globe form their opinions about Americans from what they see on TV. This can be biased. Imagine if everything a foreigner knew about Americans came from the Real Housewives series on Bravo! You are demonstrating Americans are cultured, kind and generous. You are a citizen of the world.

Cover photo: Bryce and Jane, end of Queen Victoria voyage 2020

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