Imagine someone visiting the United States for the first, and possibly only time in their lifetimes. They might visit New York City, Portland, or the Grand Canyon. They might choose a fabulous restaurant with great value, or happen across a dud. They may cook for themselves and find a little hippie health food store and wonder where the ‘normal’ products they may get at home are; or they might do all their shopping at a Walmart and let that shape their view of America.
This person may well leave the United States with the impression that the country is all similar to their experience, even though obviously places vary widely. Indeed, I often have to remind myself of that when visiting other places in U.S.; some places can feel like visiting a different country.
As I travel, it’s interesting to remember that my experiences are not necessarily representative of the entire country, island, city, etc. – and yet I think we are incapable of not viewing things through a particular lens that what we see is how things are elsewhere. I think most importantly, we should be open to allowing our impressions of place to change after that initial first impression.