Blonde hair, blue eyes, white skin. That’s what people see when they look at me. Little do they know, I have left my footprint all over this earth and I’ve experienced cultures far different than my own. There is more to me than meets the eye, and so is the case for globally-minded people all over the world.
The term “globally-minded” is a broad way of describing how, and more specifically where, people grew up.
Take a second and think about your upbringing. Were you one of those kids who had a parent in the military and you moved from one base to another, saying goodbye to your friends each time? Or perhaps you still live in the same house you grew up in after all these years. Where you grew up, and the experiences you have had in your life, has an affect on how globally minded you are. But, whether you have one specific place you call your hometown or not, everyone is globally minded in one way or another.
Doni Luckutt, the founder of Culturs.guru, a global multi-cultural magazine, has coined the term “cultural mobility” and explains it by saying, “Culturally mobile describes daily reality for people who straddle culture. This includes Global Nomads, Third Culture Kids, and racially-blended, culturally-blended, or ethnically-blended people.”
A third culture kid is someone who lives in several different countries before they enter adulthood. Luckutt fits into several of these categories. She comes from a Costa-rican and Trinidadian background, which makes her multi-cultural, or “culturally-blended.” She also lived in 7 different countries by the time she was 18, making her a TCK.
Her magazine, Culturs.guru, has developed a readership all over the world less than a year after its launch. She says, “In the 21st century, assessing someone’s background from outward appearance isn’t enough — hidden diversity means people increasingly bring more to the table than meets the eye. Whether through travel, nationality, race or ethnicity, many of us connect with culture in one way or another. Culturs global multicultural magazine intends to celebrate the unique perspectives of such people. People can read lifestyle articles and research from their point of view. One that shows a new-world order — a new normal that affects not only our lives, but the lives of those around us.”
As I sat and listened to Luckutt’s incredible story about her upbringing, I started to feel like my life was so bromidic. I was born in Westminster, Colorado, and have lived here my entire life. I moved once, and it was 15 minutes down the street. My ancestry is German, so my whole family looks the same (like a typical, white, American family). But, as I described what I thought was a colorless background, Luckutt was shocked by my lack of enthusiasm.
“You have so much culture in you that you don’t even realize,” she exclaimed. She asked me about where I have traveled, and I happily gave her a list of countries I have visited. I have a fascination with other cultures, probably because I find my own rather “vanilla”-no pun intended. Luckutt explained to me that I am an “international nomad” and that my open-minded attitude towards culture makes me just as globally minded as she is.
“For individuals like you,” Luckutt explains, “culture is not static. You enjoy immersing yourself in the fluidity that comes along with traversing the cultures that exist in different countries, different races, ethnicities and sometimes even cities in the same country.”
Luckutt’s bubbly personality, and enthusiasm for the subject inspired me to dig deeper into the concept of cultural mobility and globally minded perspectives.
Going into the interview with Stefan Rodriguez, a 21 year old student with a Columbian background, I had a new found confidence about
culture. I had a brighter outlook on my personal background, I was craving to know more, and I was excited to pass along Luckutt’s teachings.
Rodriguez had an interesting story to tell, one that you don’t hear everyday. His mother is American, and a Colorado native like myself. His father, however, was born and raised in Columbia, South America. Rodriguez explained that his parents met when his father came to America at the age of 25 to pursue a career in architecture. He had to learn English, since Spanish was his first language, and that’s how he met his wife. Although they decided to raise their children in Colorado, I could tell that they made sure Stefan knew about his heritage.
“My dad has made a point to take us to Columbia a couple times so we could see where he grew up, and where our family came from.” Rodriguez talks about the country as if he grew up there. He has a connection to it as if he has adapted the culture as his own. Growing up, his father taught him some Spanish. Rodriguez has also left his footprint in many countries around the world. It was interesting to me that I could have so much in common with someone with a completely different background, simply because of our mutual love for world culture.
What about those people who haven’t experienced many cultures around the world? Kory Clark, an 18 year old student from Colorado, has never set foot out of the country. When I told him what a TCK was, and shared with him the stories I had heard from Luckutt and Rodriguez, he seemed just as bummed as I was to find out that we didn’t fall into any of those categories.
But, just as Luckutt had done with me, I was determined to show Clark that he too is globally-minded, and he doesn’t even realize it. Although Clark has never traveled across U.S borders, he has done some traveling within the country.
“In 2011, I traveled across the country to New York to march in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. That is an experience that not many people get to have. I feel like people all around the country, and even the world, know about that event, and I am one of the few people who got to actually take part in it. It may not be something specifically unique about my culture, but it is unique to me.”
I explained to Clark that the fact that he has traveled around the United States makes him an “Intra-national Nomad.” That is different from someone who is a “Global or international Nomad,” but the experiences he had while traveling within the country are unique to him and have contributed in shaping him into the person he is today.
By looking deeper into our cultural background, our unique upbringing and our personal experiences, we find the true meaning of being globally minded. Just because you don’t have parents who are of two different races, or you have never set foot outside your hometown, or even moved farther than 15 minutes away, that doesn’t mean that you or your life are boring.
Your life, and the experiences you’ve had, are different from everyone else on the planet, and have made you the person you have grown to be. Someone else on the other side of the world would find your culture, and your personal story, completely different from theirs. That is the beauty of living on this earth.
There are so many cultures around us that are completely different from our own. So the next time you meet someone new, don’t try and assess who they are or where they came from based on their outward appearance. Ask them about their culture, their upbringing, their experiences, and you may just teach them a little something about the person they have always been, and they just hadn’t realized it. That is the true workings of a globally minded individual.