I’ve been lucky enough to have traveled with a friend, a group of friends, and solo. I have also met new people – locals, guides, and fellow travelers – who, and I’m sorry that this is so cliché, have definitely broadened my perception of life and how simultaneously small and large the world is.
I don’t know if I’ve just been lucky, but I think people who travel are, for the most part, open, caring, and friendly. I’ve talked to and connected with people I just normally wouldn’t have even paid much attention to at home. And it would be just because we were going the same way or in the same place at the same time. I’ve met some crazy (in the absolute best sense of the term imaginable) and inspirational people and made valuable, lifelong friendships.
To be honest, I’m pretty shy and have been fortunate to be the one approached by friendly locals and the more social and seasoned travelers. I’ve learned a lot, especially in stepping out of my comfort zone, being able to reach out to others, and learning not to take them for granted. It usually takes me a long time to warm up to people, but living in another country and/or traveling, the process is so much faster and results, more surprising. It just goes to show that you just never know where you might end up finding a helpful hand or even friendship. So don’t pigeonhole people – they will surprise you.
I’m ordinarily someone who needs a lot of alone time, but it’s definitely great relief to have a great friend or kindred spirit to be with in the midst of the crazy and chaos of travel life. I’ve grown to love the anxiety and excitement of meeting new people coming from all different – or sometimes surprisingly similar! – walks of life, ways of living, and travel journeys. With other expats and travelers, it’s a lot of fun to swap and share travel itineraries and talk about different life/travel styles, and what it is that compels one to just pack up and go and see and do and meet. I cherish those moments of connection, and it’s during those that I often find myself wondering what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes, and how much the same and how different my life would be.
My biggest takeaway on being on the road: open yourself to people, take chances, be cautious but not too cautious. Thank you to all of the amazing people I’ve encountered in my travels~ :D