Today on Culture with Travel, we talk to Joseph Graham, a travel blogger who shares his stories on a travel blog called the Grizzled Nomad
Tell us a bit about yourself! Why do you love travel? How do you think travel unites us or teaches us more about the world?
I love to travel because you get a chance to meet new people, see places that you never really thought possibly exist, and just the general friendliness of people that you don’t get if you stay in one spot your whole life. I think travel teaches all of us how to get along with other cultures, how to understand that there are boundaries that other people in other cultures have that you may not have, and it allows you to have a more empathetic understanding of others.
Which dish do you feel best represents where you’re specifically from? Share a picture and tell us why you love it!
I’m from Fort Worth, Texas. Spanish culture and Mexican culture is very big there, so a typical dish would be a mix of Mexican food with a Texan flare to it.
Growing up in your country, what’s something that you believe makes it unlike anywhere else in the world?
The welcoming attitude pretty much anywhere you go in the United States. It really doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from. If you want to know anything, you just ask and people are usually more than happy to help you.
Talk about the role of family in your life. What does family mean to you? Which family values are valuable to you?
For me personally, family has never really played a large part. Our family has always been spread out throughout the United States, so we were never very connected. But, being a family of German and Italian descent, I think that religion played a large part in our upbringing. And, a large part of that was being taught to be honest, helpful, and forthright.
How important is spirituality and religion in your daily life? What do you do to celebrate the two?
Personally, spirituality and religion do not affect me. But, the lessons learned as a child growing up going to a Baptist Church in the Southern United States taught me to be respectful of my elders, to be honest, to be truthful, and to be helpful.
Share about a custom/tradition you observe. What makes it special?
The thing with the United States is that we don’t really have the traditional customs and values like most countries do – aside from I guess major holidays like Christmas or Thanksgiving. But, in having said that, our biggest tradition, I guess, would be the sense of giving to others in need during this special time of the year, helping strangers for no other reason, than it being the right thing to do.
Art and dance can tell a deeper story about local culture. Tell us the story of a specific artwork or dance that has a meaning for you.
The Alamo in San Antonio, Texas kind of sums up the Texas spirit of defiance. Every time I go there, it makes me think of things that happened in the past to me, to my country, and how we could possibly improve our relations towards everyone.
Languages not only give us the power to communicate, but also can unite us across cultures. What’s something you love about the multitude of languages spoken in your country? Share a favorite saying you have, or teach us something in your native language.
The United States is truly a melting Pot when it comes to cultures and languages. But a good one is a simple Spanish saying which is “hasta mañana” or “see you tomorrow” or “hasta luego” or “see you later” which represents the friendliness, which our country embodies. There are so many people of Mexican or Spanish descent in the United States, that it’s only natural to have Spanish as our unofficial second language.
What local spot in your city/town do you love most? Why is it personally important to you?
I’ve lived in Seattle off and on for about 10 years since leaving Texas. For me, the most important part of Seattle would be by Seattle Community College and by the Space Needle. When I first moved there, I was 19, didn’t know anyone, was dirt poor, and just the sense of being able to blend in without being questioned was something I instantly loved about Seattle.
Who is the most inspiring person in your life? In which ways does this person inspire you?
The person who inspires me the most is my father. He came up from nothing to become an engineer. We don’t speak much anymore, but he’s the person that I most admire and who taught me everything I know. He taught me to be honest and forthright, and to think before I act.
Unfortunately, stereotypes exist. What common misconceptions about the United States do you hear?
There is a lot of bias about the United States. People think we’re rich, that we’re snobs, or that we’re all assholes. It’s pretty much farthest from the truth. The United States is made up of so many different cultures.