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.
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.
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.
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.
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 trend I encountered, no matter where I went. I remember relaxing and enjoying a Singapore Sling in the very bar they were invented when I saw two 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 of their phones as she scrolled through it and it was nothing but pictures of herself. Thousands of them.
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 photo shoot, we as humans definitely love taking pictures of ourselves.
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.
6) Dive bars
Perhaps going hand-in-hand with hipsters and craft beer is a worldwide love for a great dive bar. Although they are 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) Organic and Local
Last up on this list of global trends is the united front and stand on pesticides and preservatives packed in our foods. In the ’50s, 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. A highlight of this is my time learning to cook Indonesian food at an organic farm in Bali. It doesn’t get fresher than that!
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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