There’s a bit of “Keeping up with the Jones’s” in our lives. As a person who enjoys cruising, you have extensive foreign travel experience. You might have even sent your passport back to the State Department to get extra pages inserted! You can’t wave your passport around at the supermarket, but there are ways you can signal to friends you are a citizen of the world.
- Grocery shopping bags. They do a much better job with these in Europe vs. the US. They have transitioned from plastic sacks to top loading luggage. The next time you are in Europe, stop into a supermarket and buy some of their better reusable bags, ideally the zippered ones for keeping food cool. They will likely cost under two bucks each. Our favorites are from the German supermarket chains Lidl and Aldi. They have stores in the US, but not the great reusable grocery bags. Marks & Spencer have great ones in their UK food halls too.
- Primark. This Irish brand is penetrating the US market. It’s done for clothing what Ikea did for furniture. You will be surprised many of your friends won’t know about it. The clothing is very stylish and unbelievably cheap. Years ago, my wife bought me a great straw hat, like you see aristocratic British people wearing on TV murder mysteries. She bought it at a famous US department store. After lots of discounting and coupons, it came down to about $ 35.00. A substantially identical hat is about $ 8.00 a Primark. Ditto espadrilles for summer footwear. If you haven’t been to one in Europe, find a US store.
- Gift bags. Friends say: “When you go to the store, can you pick up some orange juice for me?” You bring a bottle of wine to a friend’s house. Nothing says “I’m an international traveler” like putting the bottle into a small shopping bag from Fauchon, the gourmet food store in Paris. That’s why we save all our shopping bags from overseas trips.
- HSBC. It’s the bank that had the aim of becoming the world’s local bank. They have about 3,900 branches in 68 countries, according to Wikipedia. You know this British firm started as the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, hence the initials, HSBC. You see them on the street, remarking you see them all over Europe too.
- British TV programs. You love your British TV series. You watch them when you are on vacation. You and your friends watch some series on PBS. Acorn and Britbox are two streaming services with extensive libraries of current and vintage series.
- BBC Sounds. If you have traveled in the UK, you’ve likely listened to the BBC. One of the greatest pleasures is the complete lack of advertising! In the US, we are used to BBC America or BBC World News, the news program. On your Smart phone (my iPhone) you can get the BBC Sounds app. It’s free, as I recall. You get the same radio programs you would get if you were over there. This includes BBC Radio 4, with programming like The Shipping Forecast, The Archers and Gardens Question Time. BBC Radio 4 Extra, a separate station, is primarily radio plays (dramas.)
- Burberry. They made the trench coat famous. Although they are a fashion house, the tan trench coat with the distinctive Burberry check pattern is iconic. Owning a Burberry scarf gets the same effect. These are easy to find in the US.
- Barbour. They make wax jackets worn by the Queen and members of her family. They come in lots of styles, but the basic, preferred color is green. They are available at stores in the US.
- Wellies. If you work in the garden, you want a pair of Wellington boots. These are rubber boots that come almost up to the knee. Although Hunter is the famous maker, it’s the look that matters. They aren’t expensive.
We might not be traveling at the moment, put it’s not that hard to maintain your status as an international traveler in your community!
Cover photo: Christmas markets in Vienna