Establishing your personal boundary can be a challenge when traveling as you have to share communal space. However, understanding your and other people’s boundaries is important to having positive traveling experiences.
Travelers must remember that cultural norms often define someone’s perception of personal space, and people will have different sets of meanings and values. When traveling, remember that even though norms are different, you do not have to accept any interaction that violates your personal boundary.
It is important to make sure your boundaries are respected but is it equally important to respect them in others. Your actions and words may be innocent in your personal relationships yet could be construed as rude and offensive to your fellow traveler.
While many may understand the word “no” to mean exactly that, some people and cultures may believe that a no will eventually lead to a yes. Be clear in your interactions when traveling so that there is no question about your meaning or intent.
Remember that being kind and being nice are not the same. Being kind involves being considerate and respectful to others while being nice usually means giving more consideration to others than ourselves. Often, being nice crosses your personal boundary, be kind and say no.
Finally, keep in mind the role of stereotyping in our interactions, especially for women of color who are often seen as exotic and more sexually permissive than other women.
Have you experienced any issues in keeping your personal boundary when you’ve traveled? I’d like to know.