A lot of potential SD’s state in their profile that they want a baby who is well-traveled and cultured. While this expectation can seem daunting, more often than not, what they really want is someone won’t seem out place mingling with their jet-setting friends and who won’t embarrass them on a trip abroad.
The easiest way to seem well-traveled is, of course, to actually travel. But in the age of the internet, there are lots of easier (and cheaper) ways to cultivate an air of worldliness while enriching yourself in the process. Here are 6 short cuts to being worldly on a budget:
Learn Another Language
Whether it’s your second or third addition, learning a new language is a great way to indirectly experience a new culture. There is obviously lots of practical value in that you’ll be prepared if you ever visit the country, but linguistic quirks and idioms also tell you a lot about the people using them.
If it’s your first time learning a foreign language, it can be helpful to stick to ones close to your own; familiar grammar is less intimidating than extra genders and tenses. Also, take advantage of all of the free tools at your disposal: download an app or watch a kid’s movie in one of the other languages offered in the DVD.
Don’t fret if you don’t manage to pick up as much and as fast as you’d hoped. Just knowing a few key phrases in another language shows your willingness to learn. Plus, if you put ‘learning cantonese’ in your profile, you might even find an SD interested in teaching you or who wants to learn the language with you.
Cook Food From Foreign Countries
Food is a universal language. Most of us have experienced a foreign culture’s cuisine before we were even old enough to know what culture is. Learning what spices to use, how to prepare sauces and seasoning a cut of meat are easier to learn than verb conjugation. Use Wikipedia or Pinterest to browse foreign dishes that interest you, download the recipes and voila!
You may not become an internationally-known celebrity chef, but SD’s who have traveled will appreciate you being able to whip up (or show them how to make) a dish they tried once in Venezuela.
Work On Your Wine, Beer and Spirits Knowledge
One place you’re likely to encounter lots of foreign words and practices is in the world of high-end booze. Being familiar with terms like Hefeweizen (wheat beer) or Cava (Spanish sparkling wine) will keep you from seeming clueless when invited to a upscale cocktail bar for a date.
Being well-versed in wine can be a daunting, intimidating task. You don’t need to be a sommelier, just remember the basics for wine pairing: red with steak, white with poultry and fish.
Consult Google for alcohol cheat sheets, your goal should be in-depth knowledge of your favorite spirit/wine/beer and familiarity with other common ones.
Add Exotic Pieces To Your Wardrobe
We all have that friend or relative who, after years of jet-setting or backpacking, has accumulated jewelry, purses and other knickknacks from around the world. Luckily, in 2016, you don’t need traveling funds in order to have authentic keepsakes. (Authentic is important here because fakes will just make you look tacky and won’t actually support the culture you have to thank for the item.) Instead, just hop on websites like Etsy to find foreign sellers who handmade goods.
If you want to save on shipping, skip ordering all together and try visiting immigrant-owned shops in or near your hometown. It’s not uncommon for the owner of a food shop to sell jewelry or clothes made by people from their home country.
Read International News
If you’re American, you’re already at a disadvantage when it comes to being aware of current events in other countries. Most of our news just isn’t geared towards a cultured audience. If you prefer to stick to big sites like CNN or The New York Times, try to bookmark the international version of the front page for a change in perspective.
If want to read news geared towards a global audience, try the English language version of major non-Anglo publications like Le Monde or Aljazeera.
If you have an iPhone, the newest IOS has a great News app that lets you aggregate from all of your preferred blogs and news sources.
Have A Passport
This may seem pointless if you don’t have immediate plans or funds to travel, but you should definitely have one anyway. Having a passport, even without any stamps, shows you’re willing and ready to travel to exotic locations at the drop of a hat.
Obtaining a passport is easier than ever now. You can look up required forms and documents on your local passport office’s website and get a photo done at any CVS or Rite-Aid or have the office take a photo once you’re there. You can even take the photo yourself as long as you stick to the requirements.
Most people with nightmare stories about trying to obtain a passport misread or forgot one or more of the requirements. Attention to detail is key! Just be as fastidious about your paperwork as you are about your manicures and it’ll be a breeze.