All too often, we, Americans, proceed through life, in a rather, tainted manner, taking things like freedoms, liberties, and relative safety, for granted. Traveling throughout the Baltic region, including Norway, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Estonia, and Russia, one, immediately, recognizes, many things are far different, outside of the United States. Savvy travelers attempt to take in, as much as possible, observe, converse with natives, etc, in order to get a better idea, of both, the similarities, as well as differences, goals, priorities, perceptions, and perspectives. One should begin, with overcoming our tendencies to assume and anticipate, and rather, simply enjoy and discover. While human nature, is somewhat consistent, throughout the world, and most people seek security, happiness, and freedom, one's background and experiences, often makes, what one considers, free, and each sense of comparison.
1. Human nature: While some nation's residents blame one nation for their historic challenges, others perceive things differently. For example, Germany makes a point of preserving some of their horrific history, with the hope, future generations, never make the same mistakes. They, even, maintain some of the ammunition holes, to remind them, and make them stronger. Norwegians and Danes are proud of their empathetic nature, and far more gladly than we do, embrace their high rates of taxation, gladly sharing and caring, for the common good. While many in our country, resort to labeling this, as Socialism, they have done things, this way, for generations, and ar proud of the pride of ownership, maintaining safety, cleaning the air and water, in an environmentally responsible way, etc. They have a higher regard for those who govern, than many of us, do, and believe they receive value, for th taxes paid, including medical, hospitalization, education, public transit, etc. When they discuss monthly incomes, they always do so, in terms of their net, take - home pay. Estonia, because of its small population, does not have the economy of scale, to do so, as well, and, thus, many work in nearby Finland. Only Russia, would be considered, under Communist rule, and their freedom and liberty, are somewhat restricted, yet, they feel, it's still better, than when, they were under Soviet rule. This region has long winters and shorter summers, and far fewer days of sunshine, yet most of the residents proceed, in an optimistic, sunny manner.
2. Economic: Our average salaries are far higher than many of these nations, but the people, hav adjusted, and appear, to enjoy their environment, spending as much time, enjoying the outdoors, as possible. In most of this region, employment is relatively high, and, each area, has customized their work force, to adjust to local conditions. In St. Petersburg, Russia, metal working is a major industry, while, in Estonia, we witness on of the most technologically, advanced countries. Germany has the largest, strongest, and most diverse economies, in the region, while other areas, have witnessed many oppressive rulers, over their history. Some use the Euro, while others have their own national currencies.
3. What we should learn: When visiting, attempt to meet, me converse with many of the residents. Nearly all these individuals speak several languages, including English, so one does not need, to feel, it will be difficult to communicate. Don't assume every area, would like to live as we do, but, recognize, most have an enormous curiosity about all things, American.
If you want to become the best you can be, discover and learn, as much as possible, from people, with different backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences. You'll appreciate freedom, and realize, it's worth protecting and demanding.