The first Friday night of my trip in London, my sister and I were hanging out with her friend Alan who lives there. We were lucky to know a local who could give us an insider’s experience of the city. We met up with him for happy hour at a pub that was packed to the gills with young people enjoying a pint with friends on the sunny London summer afternoon. They also had a “Bank Holiday” on Monday and so were looking forward to a long weekend. Later on we went to this cool street food and drink market in Shoreditch. It was bumping.
This same scene was repeated everywhere I traveled. I realized then the universality of TGIF. No matter where you go in the world, on a Friday night you are likely to find friends gathered at their favorite watering hole looking to unwind and have a good time. I felt very connected to these Londoners because I knew that I might be doing the same thing with my friends at home.
The beauty of this was recognizing our similarities even while learning about our cultural differences — that people talk, think, live differently than you, but at the same time have similar hopes, fears, and tastes in beer. Isn’t that a truth that should extend beyond young people on a Friday night?
Traveling literally gets you out of your own world to experience another part of it. If we learn about each other, talk to each other, relate to each other, we will discover how connected we really are. That’s the great paradox of humanity — we are all different yet we are all alike.
Think about the ugliness that exists in the world because of divisiveness. There is chaos and discord when our differences are exploited and we stop trying to find the common ground. What if we were obligated to get together with someone with whom we disagree on a Friday night over a few drinks and just talked. I bet the world would be a happier place.
As long as there are bars and gathering spots, as long as there are summer days and Friday nights, as long as there are people seeking peace and good times and meaningful relationships, I am convinced that we are more alike than we are different. And that’s something that makes me hopeful.
Photo by Yutacar on Unsplash.