After getting off the ferry that took us from Ceuta, Spain to Tangier, Morocco, my legs felt like rubber. I hoped on land I’d be able to find some grounding, but that was more difficult than I expected. I found it difficult to know exactly where I was in Tangier.

At dinner I had a Middle Eastern meat sandwich called Schawarma and a Spanish soda called Poms, while my friend next to me had a Moroccan tangine and an American coke. The market sellers on the sides of the road urged me to by a traditional North African jellaba, Dolce and Gabanna knock-offs, headscarves, and Coach pursues. Our tour guide spoke fluent Arabic, French, and English. He wore a traditional Fez hat, a jellaba, flip flops, and Luis Vuitton sunglasses. The architecture surrounding us was Portugese, Spanish, French, and traditional Moroccan. Just when I got a grip on the cultures represented, a remnant from another end of the world seemed to present itself.

Globalization often gets a bad reputation in America, and many times this is because of problems it causes. As I looked specifically at the architecture surrounding me from several countries and several centuries, I began to see that globalization is by no means a 21st-century invention. Cultures have been intersecting and sharing for years. As a traveler, my question became how to deal with this globalization.

I could stay completely immersed in my culture, eating only at Mcdonalds and taking advantage of the opportunity to buy cheap knock-offs of expensive brands. Or I could use these objects from my culture to give me a sense of grounding in my identity, which would act as a base from which I could plunge into the new way of life around me, exploring, eating, and asking questions to learn. Globalization can separate us, but it can also become a beautiful conversation.



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