I’ve traveled to, and worked in, quite a few countries.  Traveling is part of what makes us “us”. 

One thing is for certain.  When you travel, whether you ask for it or not, you are an ambassador for your country.  People will judge you, and many people will have pre-conceived notions of what people from your country are like.  You will give them an impression.  You could reinforce their belief or change their mind.  And if you’re traveling for work it’s even more complex.

I recall traveling with a colleague, many years ago, and some parts of the trip weren’t going all that well.  My colleague, who is typically very patient, grew very frustrated with the situation.  He blurted out a string of profanities at the bus we were riding in.  It was getting really dusty inside.  He was closing windows and cursing.  I certainly didn’t take offense to it, but our host, who could speak no English, sure did.  At some point he asked our translator what was being said.  Later, our host confronted my colleague about the string of cursing.  Long story short, the cursing tirade had hurt the feelings of our host. 

Trust me, I know traveling can be tiring at times.  The beds or pillows may be uncomfortable, the food may not be adequate.  The working conditions may be difficult.

But believe me, it’s way better to hold your tongue whenever possible.

You are an ambassador for your country and for your company.

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