Different, different but same

Asian explorers have heard about it probably more than a thousand times: “Same, same but different”. It is mostly told to travelers to tempt them to buy some cheap quality products. They convince you by telling you “it is the same, same as you are used to, the same quality you know, but different”. Different in style, or made in Asia, or you cannot get it at home, is less important, just they want to sell it and only saying “same, same” is not enough. By “different” what they actually mean is that it is similar and that you do not have to worry about, the difference.

Moreover, sellers in Asia often avoid confrontation and simply too much stress. They would like to quickly sell the product and diffuse the situation without showing face.

So far I have traveled to more than 60 countries and I always spend time to discover not only sightseeing or nice places but also the real country and its people. I asked them about work conditions, about their government and their family stories so that I could discover a lot of “different or same” cultures, interests, and opinions.

At the end, I asked myself,

… Is the culture everywhere the same, same but different?

I discovered that every country and its people are: Different, different but the same. When we arrive in an unknown country for the first time, we see first of all the difference, the different clothes, behaviors, skin color, faces, the smell in the air, and more. We see or discover similarities later. Mostly when we get used to the country, culture, and people, we find it similar and do not worry about it, even if it is different. And we then discover it is the same, same, because I am used to it, or I know it.

This is why I came to my conclusion to tell myself that traveling to other places, the culture and its people: is different, different but the same.

When traveling I often discovered that the more I knew about them, it became the same and hence my saying of different, different but the same.

At the end, I asked myself,

… Is what we all want the most in this world everywhere the same, same but different?

I discovered that not every country and its people have got the same opportunities. Some people can afford to travel, others do not even own a place to stay.

If we go back to our school lessons and read about the Maslow Pyramid, there are 5 levels. The theory shows us, that the needs at the bottom of the pyramid are basic physical requirements. Those are including the need for food, water, sleep, and warmth. It is said, that once these lower-level needs have been met, people can move on to the next level of needs, which are for safety and security. The third level is the social needs in Maslow’s hierarchy including such things as love, acceptance, and belonging. At the fourth level in Maslow’s hierarchy is the need for appreciation and respect. At the very peak of Maslow’s hierarchy is self-actualization needs. "What a man can be, he must be," Maslow explained, referring to the need people have to achieve their full potential as human beings.


When traveling and discovering the question about the meaning of life, I discovered that travelers are mostly richer than others or at least over level 4 of Maslow’s Pyramid. They are lucky and can afford to travel to other countries. Depending on his background and opportunities I conclude that everybody wants something else more or less, and it is therefore different, different but the same.

If we take the Maslow Pyramid, it would be to approach the 5 levels, wherever we can fulfill, human beings would prefer to have it all. But I also think that a lot of people are never fully satisfied at every level, it might be the case that some are stuck in level 3 forever or get and give more respect and appreciation, which is on level 4, than being loved, which is on level 3. Even this Pyramid can be criticized and the Hierarchy levels should be left open.


I am happy now doing the best that I am capable of doing. I am according to level 5, concerned with personal growth, less concerned with the opinions of others, and interested in fulfilling my potential as well as thankful for everything.


Are you the same, same or different, different?

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Something about me: In 2015 my first trip of 6 months was backpacking. Since then I love it. From Switzerland to Russia and my last destination Oman before I went back to Switzerland, my solo trip was an amazing mixture of adventure and silence.

I took one year to prepare and yet I still traveled spontaneously. I booked only the flights and organized all the visas, vaccinations as well as using the year’s preparation, finishing studies, quit my jobs, store my belongings, etc. Saving money took longer and dreaming about what I wanted to see and taking an inner decision to travel started 10 years before I finally took off. It was all a process of growth and it took some time to fulfill my dream. But it was totally worth it. Nowadays, I have no more fear of traveling, strange situations and all the world is my home, I feel comfortable mostly everywhere. I have met good and bad people. I have made mistakes but learned from them. Until 2020 I have discovered most of the world.

hierarchy of needs

Different, different but same

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