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I’ve spent a good bit of time in moving around between cultures. One of the things I have learned is that to compare what we find when we travel with what we’ve left behind is not only a waste of time, it can be a real hindrance.

Arriving somewhere new always tempts comparison with what we already know. It is a habit that is best resisted if you want to get the most of where you are when you arrive.

For example, if you find yourself in a place that uses a different currency from the one back home, do you start comparing prices, juggling exchange-rates and trying to figure out what something ‘really’ costs?

Whether it is in pesos, drachma, dinar or dollars, what it really costs is what is written on the price tag. Trying to establish the relative value of what you see in front of you by referring to a currency from somewhere else may make you feel more comfortable (though I don’t see how), but it can be a barrier to acceptance and enjoyment.

You know you’ve arrived when you get there

The best route is to truly arrive in a place by adopting the local currency. Immerse yourself, make sure you understand it and  can recognise the various denominations and coins (play ‘shops’ in your hotel room if you need to). Shop around if you must, and live within your budget. Make decisions about spending based on what you have available to you at that moment, not by comparing with what it would cost back home (or in the old days, or whatever).

It works for me anyway.

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