Although I can’t vouch for its accuracy, I liked this neat formula for deciding how long to spend getting to know a new country.  Not surprisingly, Steinbeck and Capa chose the one month version rather than the full five years for their visit to the Soviet Union.  It seems anything over a month and under five years will just be a blur. 

It is said that in a foreign country impressions are sharp and accurate for a month, and then they become blurred, and the reactions are not accurate again for five years, so that one should stay either one month or five years in a country.


Source: John Steinbeck, A Russian Journal, with photographs by Robert Capa (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1999 (1948)), p.  183

Photo credit: Nathan Dumlao at unsplash


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