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Though the cause for uniting the whole of humanity under a single peaceful banner is noble and good, it is the drastic differences between us that continues to make life, especially travel, so very worthwhile. Whether it’s as stark as arriving in a country that doesn’t speak your language or as subtle as noticing differences in transportation, experiencing the world’s cultural varieties teaches us things books can’t hold–not only about the subject at hand, but ourselves as well.

While your expectations are always going to be wrong in some way, it’s never a bad idea to get a glimpse of where you’re going. Whether it’s to check out the Sami in northern Sweden, take a bath in Damascus, or hike the Great Wall, Matadorians have been there. Check out the content below, and let us know what you discover after you return (or decide to stay).

You know what a red hot dog is. And you’ll eat one.
I know to plan extra time if visiting China, Hong Kong, and Macau.
What they mean: Do you have any industry connections?
You would never pay $1100 a month to live in Columbia Heights.
I will never be at a loss for impressing other people with some pretty interesting global...
Let me tell you (from a foreigner’s perspective) what you’re doing 100% right.
Other English speakers don’t understand your English.
Am I expected to tip here? How much is appropriate?
LA is bigger, weirder, and has more to gawk at than any place I've been.
In my experience, Brits are courteous, fun, and engaged travelers.
You gotta insert a little levity into the equation. That’s the real mark of an Angeleno.
An Argentinean friend opens the door and happily yells "I’m here!"
A story of Blackness that is empowered by self-identification.
The Pasola Festival is a human bloodletting ending in a all-out riot.
Get rid of your glaring gringo accent and learn to talk like an artesano.
You've got your Giants hat, pour-over coffee, and road bike and think you're a local?