The French tend to be much more proper, aloof and private than we are in the US. Our efforts to be “friendly” can be interpreted by them as alarmingly inappropriate familiarity.

When it comes to friendship, the French believe in quality over quantity. Friendship implies a deep mutual affection and commitment toward an ongoing relationship. A person’s friends are a tight-knit group that see each other regularly and take part in each other’s lives. Because of this, friendship is not given freely or taken lightly.

The idea that “the customer is always right” was invented in the US. Although, this notion of customer service is becoming more common in Paris, it is still a “foreign” concept. That’s not to say that there aren’t countless proud shopkeepers that value their customers and show them plenty of kindness. But their treatment of you is more driven by personality than by societal expectations.

The French put a high value on being polite. In France, like every culture, there is an understood code of conduct and etiquette that is expected of everyone.

Part of what makes a culture or community is the fact that we do share a common set of rules for behavior. Throughout the world, those respective rules are taught to each of us from the time we are born and throughout our childhood. As adults, we are expected to know them and abide by them. They are ingrained in all of us.

If you’re traveling outside of the US and you want access to a cell phone, without the risk of racking up a staggering phone bill, then you have a few options to choose from.

1)  Go Global With Your Plan: This is an option if you’d like to use your own phone. Contact your wireless carrier and ask them to set you up with a global coverage plan for the length of your trip and then switch back to your regular plan when you return. This the most convenient, but the most expensive option.

I came across a brief article today on the Past Horizons website noting that archaeologists at the site of Tehuacan in Puebla, Mexico believe they’ve identified a mid-fourteenth century shrine to the Aztec god Mictlantecuhtli (pron. Mict-lan-te-cuht-li) or ‘Lord of the Land of the Dead’.

Just last night I wrote a post about hosting my first Dia de los Muertos celebration, so I’d already been thinking about Mexico’s deeply rooted views that life and death are fundamentally interconnected.

I love travel and my bucket list of destinations and experiences is a million miles long. Unfortunately, these days, I don’t get to do as much traveling as I’d like. Whether it be money, time, work, or family obligations, something often prevents me from indulging my whim to set off into the wild blue yonder to explore new (and familiar) destinations.