When everything, everywhere looks the same

Sure, it’s nice that when we travel to other cities and countries, we also find products there that we know from home. But when we have reached the point where the same products and services are available in every place in every country, then surely it no longer makes sense to travel at all?

The internet has enlarged our window into the world to such an extent that it now resembles a gigantic glass fa├žade from which we look out into what we perceuve as a tiny miniature world that we seemingly already know everything about. But actually, we don’t really look out into the world, but merely into our own front yard and the adjoining street, where we only see our immediate neighbours passing by.

Globalisation is a phenomenon that has been around since colonial times, but it is happening faster and faster. Who wants to be surrounded exclusively by new, unknown things, places and products on a journey? Or by exclusively foreign people whose language, rituals and habits you don’t understand and with whom you refuse to communicate, even if they come from a very similar cultural background? For that you have to travel really far today. But only to to their beaches.

It is interesting to get to know new people, languages and cultures. Because they are what makes travelling so interesting. Experiencing unfamiliar scenes in unfamiliar places in unfamiliar surroundings is exactly what lures so many people away from home. And instead of trying to fit in too much, we should try to form our own identity. Not only a visual one, but also a cultural one. So that when you cross the border you realise that you are in a different country.

The formation of a unique identity begins on the shelf of a supermarket. And I am not talking about every country not being allowed to offer the most important standards from its neighbours or from afar, on the contrary, but a certain autonomy may and should exist in every country. After all, where’s the fun in discovering something new abroad or hunting for souvenirs there if you already know in which row you’ll find them before you enter the supermarket?

There are still many differences between the individual countries; within Europe alone, every supermarket looks a little different from the inside. But these differences are disappearing year by year. The borders between countries are blurring. It is almost paradoxical that we as a society are picking out more and more of the cherries from our neighbours in terms of the range of goods in our supermarkets, but at the same time we are constantly working to make the actual national borders more and more difficult to overcome.

Unfortunately, I cannot say why this is so. But I’ll just stand at my window again to take a look over the edge of my plate. Maybe I can discover something there.