Don’t Talk to Strangers
On travelling and restoring your faith in humanity ≈
do not talk to strangers.
“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust and talk to strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – Cesare Pavese
Throughout my travels I’ve been fortunate enough to come across some of the kindest, most generous, welcoming, warm, good-hearted people.
I have met these incredible people simply by going out of my comfort zone to start a conversation with a stranger whether out of necessity, indulgence or curiosity.
And naturally, being open and courageous enough to reciprocate when a conversation is started with me.
Interacting and making real connections is one of my favourite aspects of travel.
I am in awe.
✈ strangers that would invite you into their homes for a drink or a meal because “you’re a guest in our country”
✈ strangers on an airplane that would out-of-the-blue offer you work opportunities simply because “I like your energy”
✈ travelers that would invite you to accompany them on an epic-road-trip through the Balkans simply because “we’re fellow travellers/adventurers”
✈ strangers that would share their food with you on an 11-hour train ride because you couldn’t find the bus station in a place where English is not widely spoken and didn’t have time nor energy to buy food.
✈ people that would give you the keys to their apartment while they go on holiday to “stay as long as you like” despite knowing you for only a week.
✈ people that would check in with you constantly to make sure you’re ok and safe because you’re the type that warrants worry.
✈ hosts that would not eat until you yourself have had something to eat first.
✈ strangers that would unexpectedly but welcomingly translate for you after hearing you struggle with the local language to buy bus tickets or mangoes at a market.
✈ hosts that would leave work early to show you around their city to ensure you have a good time.
✈ people that would hike the same mountain again the next day because you’ve just arrived and would love to see the view.
✈ guys that would voluntary carry your backpack and encourage you to keep going forward half-way through Africa’s highest mountain when all you want to do is stop and crawl into the fetal position because of altitude-induced ultra-migraines and nausea.
✈ new-found friends that would constantly ask you to go and visit them halfway across the world after only meeting once.
✈ an airline hostess that would hand you her contact card followed by an invitation to “stay every time you have an overnight transit in my city”
✈ strangers that would wait while you scale cliff edges to retrieve your camera in the unfortunate incident that something goes wrong.
✈ people that would take time out of their own schedule to make calls on your behalf after hearing your tourist visa still hasn’t arrived even though you’re scheduled to fly out within 24 hours.
✈ strangers that would prefer to accompany you after having been asked for directions instead of easily directing because “we don’t want you to get lost”
✈ strangers that would go out of their way to make sure you’re comfortable and welcomed.
✈ people that would make sure you see the sunrise again the following day, because “you looked like you were having the time of your life” and “who knows if you’ll ever be in the Amazon jungle again”
✈ new-found friends that would insist on treating you to a delicacy native to their country even though they do not have any money to show a piece of their home.
✈ strangers that would randomly give you their phone number to, “call if you need anything at all.”
✈ people that would invite you to stay at their place as opposed to a hotel/hostel only hours after meeting.
✈ people that would bake cheesecake for you often because you once mentioned your love for cheesecake in passing.
✈ strangers that would stop to help you repair your damaged vehicle despite it being four hours past complete darkness and pouring with rain.
✈ strangers that would call and make sure you caught the last train back after having too much fun, losing track of the time and having to run like you’ve never ran before.
And… during those times, I was reminded, yet again, of why I do what I do.
To remember and show that no matter where you are in the world, there are strangers with stories so drastically different from your own, who will treat you like family.
There is so much goodness in the world, in humanity — if only we have the courage to seek it.
Of course use your intuition and when something doesn’t feel right don’t do it.
But don’t make a blanket rule that all the people from a different culture, background, nationality, religion, creed, colour, planet, *insert random insignificant difference* are off limits.
Why place unnecessary limitations on your life, cutting yourself off from the magic just waiting to happen.
Are people selfish, insecure and impatient?
Have I had people harass me?
Have I had people make me feel uncomfortable from unwanted advances/attention?
Have I had immigration offices make my entry/exit into a country unpleasant?
Have I had people follow me (in real life) for periods longer than what is conventionally acceptable?
Have I had people scam me?
Only a tiny percentage of the population is this way.
Only a small proportion would use their influence to cause harm to others.
Only a minute fraction of people don’t give a second thought to the living conditions of the entire population, the environment, our oceans, the sky and Mother Earth.
Only a small portion would put their greed and obsession with power above the rights of creation.
Only an insignificant percentage of people give the rest of civilization a bad rep.
Talk to strangers
Learn about other cultures
Break down the barriers
Look at people in the eye and acknowledge their humanity
Fall in love
Yes, I am just simply in awe. People can be amazing!
What are some of your most memorable interactions with strangers? Let me know in the comments below.
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I am feeling the love. Can you feel it too?