7 Global Trends that Prove we are not so Different after all


During my 14-month tour around the world, I kept noticing the same trends no matter where I went. This caught me by surprise, but really, it shouldn’t have. I remember a time when the most popular music in Mexico was at least a year behind the top 40 stateside. With the world more connected than ever, this is no longer the case. Much like how the Internet has changed newspaper, book, and television industries, it also changed what is “cool” worldwide. This stretches far beyond music and proves that no matter where you go in the world, we are not that different.

In a time when the world seems to be more and more divided, it is important to recognize this. With that in mind here are 7 global trends that should unite us all.

1) Hipsters

First up on this list of global trends I encountered is the trendsetters themselves, hipsters. What has once been reserved to shadowy corners of New York, and London has become international. No matter the city visited you can find the same guy in skinny jeans, a flannel shirt, and thick rimmed glasses…or in my case,  a mirror.

7 Global Trends that Prove we are not so Different after all

2) Good Coffee

The world has always loved coffee. This hasn’t changed. What has is the shift from bad coffee to expecting more. No matter the city or country I was in, I could find a great café or coffee roaster serving up nothing but the good stuff. In Wellington, New Zealand it was flat whites from Mojo Coffee. In Cape Town it was macchiatos from Molten Toffee. Anywhere in Europe (minus Greece and their odd love of instant coffee) it was  Café au lait and Café con leches in a cobblestone courtyard or historic coffee shops in Vienna.

Coffee culture is shared around the globe and has evolved with trends and ethical trade practices. From the third wave movement in Portland, Oregon to cat cafes and selfie-loving coffee shops in Asia, this trend reaches far and unites many.

7 Global Trends that Prove we are not so Different after all

7 Global Trends that Prove we are not so Different after all

7 Global Trends that Prove we are not so Different after all

3) Barbershops

Another unique trend I found around the world was the hipster barber shop. You know, the one that is full of vintage barbershop equipment, serves beer, plays great music, and is generally overpriced. For me, this was a barbershop/tattoo parlor called The Cutler in Chiang Mai Thailand,  Barber Shop Budapest in Hungary, and the many licensed barbershops in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

7 Global Trends that Prove we are not so Different after all

4) Selfies

From the Coliseum in Rome to the outback in Australia, there was no escaping the selfie-stick. This annoying invention constantly got in the way at crowded tourist attractions, both from tourists and vendors waving them around.

Although the selfie-stick is definitely a global trend, it’s not what caught my eye nor why selfies are on this list. It is the narcissistic trends I encountered, no matter where I went. I remember relaxing and enjoying a Singapore Sling in the very bar they were invented when I noticed 2 girls sitting at the table next to me, both buried in their phones. Instead of enjoying their surroundings and each other’s company, they independently took selfie, after selfie, after selfie. Then I caught glimpse of one their phones as she scrolled through it and it was nothing but pictures of herself. Thousands of them.

Whoa.

This was sad to see but again, nothing new on my trip. From the Japanese throwing peace signs to the Russian tourists in Vietnam that all seemed to be on a photoshoot, we as humans definitely love taking pictures of ourselves.

Fun in Frankfurt

5) Craft beer

Another great trend worldwide is the uprising of craft beer. Similar to the population’s refusal to drink bad coffee, the world has had enough of big beer companies pouring watered down beer. What was once reserved to Portland and my hometown of Vancouver Canada is now a global trend. I was lucky enough to experience this first-hand with craft beer tours in Cape Town, Sydney, Lithuania, and of course – Germany.

Even cities in Asia and Central America such as Singapore and Nicaragua have gotten on board. Cheers to that.

7 Global Trends that Prove we are not so Different after all

7 Global Trends that Prove we are not so Different after all

6) Dive bars

Perhaps going hand-in-hand with hipsters and craft beer is a worldwide love for a great dive bar. Although they can be found pretty much everywhere, the Ruin Pubs in Budapest take it to a whole other level. This underground bar scene has transformed the abandoned buildings of the city’s Jewish quarter into Europe’s most unique place to party.

Then there are the speakeasies that seem to be popping up in the shadows. In Singapore, I stumbled on the super hip Library Bar. To gain access you have to decipher the ever-changing phrase found on their Facebook page. Your reward? High priced cocktails and one quirky experience, one that is very similar to  please don’t tell in NYC. in New York.

7 Global Trends that Prove we are not so Different after all

7 Global Trends that Prove we are not so Different after all

7 Global Trends that Prove we are not so Different after all

7) Organic and Local

Last up on this list of global trends is the united front and stand on pesticides and preservative packed in our foods. In the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s convenience was key. This rise of TV dinners and microwaveable everything became the norm. With that came preservatives, fake food, and high profits for the companies pushing it. This, of course, has come at the expense of the health of the consumer and the people. Although European cities never really bought into this, many other regions have. It was nice to see restaurants serving organic and fresh food emphasizing local ingredients everywhere I went. It was best highlighted by my time learning to cook Indonesian food at an organic farm in Bali. It doesn’t get fresher than that!

7 Global Trends that Prove we are not so Different after all

7 Global Trends that Prove we are not so Different after all

7 Global Trends that Prove we are not so Different after all

So there you have it. 7 global trends that prove we all love great coffee, we are all self-centred,   we don’t like water downed beer, and we all care where our food comes from. Think about that the next time you are in an awkward conversation with your racist uncle or flip through the news coverage about refugees looking for a place to once again call home.


What say you?
Thoughts on these global trends?
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7 Global Trends that Prove we are not so Different after all

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  • For me, the best trend is the organic and local food trend! I hate seeing so much importation of food and food chains (mostly American chains)!

    • For sure and same here! There is a reason food tastes better in Europe and Asia!

  • Tanya Bricking Leach

    I think all of these apply here in Croatia, except maybe the craft beer.

  • Rachel Heller

    Oh yes, all of these are familiar. The only one that bothers me is the selfie trend. When a group of friends needs to take a whole series of selfies, in groups and one at a time, knowing that they’re blocking the view for everyone else to see whatever it is they’re posing in front of… That’s just rude. And their photo streams must be so boring!

  • Lisa Rivera

    Great post Shaun, and totally agree, especially about the hipsters 😀 ! Shame that the selfies are on there too, but hey, that’s our world now!

  • Justine Jobelle M. Kimoden

    I couldn’t agree more with you about this list! I can think of so many dive bars in different countries I’ve been to but couldn’t remember the names. hehe

  • Becca Talbot

    This is really interesting, I’ve never really considered these things but you’re right – they are global trends. I’m off to Germany next week so will be looking for the craft beers 👍

  • Alicia Murdock

    I mean honestly, if there’s anything that I’d want to be a trend worldwide, it’s hot guys in flannel, coffee, and beer. lol