So last week I wrote a little bit about our trip to Ireland and the U.K. but indicated that I had some perspectives from things I learned that I would like to share. I can’t bore you with endless pictures in a column and if you don’t want to read about it then you can just quit. So count yourself lucky in that way. But, for those of you who do want to you can keep on reading.

So last week I wrote a little bit about our trip to Ireland and the U.K. but indicated that I had some perspectives from things I learned that I would like to share.  I can’t bore you with endless pictures in a column and if you don’t want to read about it then you can just quit.  So count yourself lucky in that way.   But, for those of you who do want to you can keep on reading.
I mentioned that driving was maybe just a little bit more difficult than here at home.  Of course you drive on the opposite side of the car than we are used to and in the opposite lane.  Trying to adapt to these changes with 40 plus years of driving another way ingrained into your brain was an adventure.
The other issue was the fact that most roads in Ireland were about 2-4 feet narrower than our county roads with no shoulders and right next to the road was usually a rock wall covered in foliage.  And, people didn’t think twice about parking right in the middle of the road.  Put all these things together and you can imagine that it made for maybe just a wee bit of stress.
Now, even given all these issues, I would have to say that drivers in both Ireland and the U.K. were overall more considerate than drivers here.  As I wrote in last week’s column, I only really encountered one rude driver and that was my fault so I understand.  But, it seemed that most drivers didn’t act like a NASCAR driver trying to cut you off so they could shave 2 minutes off their trip time.
In the U.K. there were a few 6 lane highways (with no posted speed limits) and for the most part everyone stayed out of the passing lane except to pass.  Contrast that with driving on I-44 with drivers getting in the passing lane and just staying there.  
This whole mentality may have a lot to do with the pace of life that we experienced on our trip.  Of course the big cities were like our big cities with crowds of people rushing everywhere and too much hustle and bustle.  But, away from the cities it seemed that people were more relaxed than the majority of Americans.  
What struck us most was the friendliness of the people we encountered.  Everyone was very open to help.  I stopped a lady in a small town in Wales and asked her where she would go to eat if she was going out that night.  Very friendly and didn’t hesitate to help us with her opinions.
The one thing that stuck out the most to me is just how much alike people are around the globe.  We stopped in a small seaside town that reminded us very much of Branson (minus the traffic).  People were walking down the street eating ice cream and enjoying the different attractions.  

We could have just as well been here in the United States.  Parents were pushing kids in strollers, kids hanging out, older people walking holding hands.  In other words, no different than what you would see here.  I think the lesson to take away is that people are people no matter where they are and they have the same innate needs.  Our cultures may differ but human nature is universal.

People have asked me about Ireland and if it is beautiful.  It is just like you see in the books – so green that our color blind kids could tell it was green in the pictures.  And, the small towns seem like they are somewhat suspended in time.  

The other thing I took away from our trip is just how much of an impact the United States has on the rest of the world.  One particular night we were sitting in a stereotypical local establishment in a stereotypical Irish town drinking a stereotypical beverage.  Okay so we were in an Irish pub in Donegal drinking a Guinness.  

Anyway, we were listening to a singer when all of a sudden he started singing a Johnny Cash song.  And this happened everywhere.  When we turned the radio on in the car we would hear American songs, on the few occasions we watched television there were several American channels on and everywhere we looked we could see the American influence.

I think it is good for everyone to get outside of their little world and it doesn’t have to be to another country.  We just have to experience things beyond our normal to understand just how much alike we really are.   

Kevin Wilson writes a column for the Neosho Daily News.