- Posted August 20, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
100 Ways to Travel Better: Your tips
Worldly Advice: Assume the Best in People
Sure, this tip doesn't explicitly tell you how to speed through the airport to catch the flight you're about to miss (run faster?) or how to get a free upgrade to the deluxe suite (although I wish it did, because that would be nice). Instead, consider this tip to be the origin of a ripple effect.
Through my travels around the world, I have found one thing to remain consistent: there are good people everywhere. I first heard this phrase uttered by my backpacking guide in Peru. And even though he was wrong about the ascent to the Inca Trail's highest pass at 14,000ft being "easy," he was right about this. From the slums of Kenya to the glaciers of Iceland, every single person I have met has had good in them. Which leads me to my tip: assume the best in people. Recognize this innate goodness, and experience it.
Assuming the best of the people you encounter in your travels first changes you, the traveler. It makes you more open, friendly, and comfortable with the many natives and tourists you meet along the way. And that's just the basics. Feeling more comfortable with the people around you, despite the fact that they are strangers, makes it easier to ask questions, engage in small talk, share stories, and facilitate new experiences and relationships that would not be possible had you not recognized that people all over the world are generally approachable.
After all, what is the worst that could happen? Let's use a basic example: you're lost. You need directions to your hotel before that sweet breakfast buffet ends. You ask a random person on the street how to get back to your hotel. They think its crazy you don't know how to get to one of the 5,000 Marriots in the city, so they ignore you and walk away. Who cares? Because then you ask someone else, they give you directions, and before you know it you're inhaling 12 mini muffins and a side of donuts. Added bonus: there could be an interesting conversation, restaurant suggestion, or contact picked up from the interaction.
Maybe you're still not convinced that this basic tip (assumption, really) can lead to positive and helpful travel experiences. Well, all you non-believers, I have an example for you. While on a sailing trip with my family, we realized we had forgotten to pack towels. As fun as not showering for a week sounded, we decided to stop into a local convenience store near the marina to buy towels and extra food. Unfortunately, after checking a few different shops, there were no towels to be found. While in line at our last stop, we began chatting with the woman next to us, eventually laughing about our inevitably showerless week due to our lack of towels. The woman, without hesitation, offered to lend us some extra towels of her own. She led us to her house, packed up some towels, and wished us safe travels.
Had we not decided to strike up some small talk with this woman based on the assumption that she would respond positively to our interaction, we would've ended up towelless, showerless, and stinking so bad that you probably could smell us from wherever you live. Many thanks to the kind lady who saved us all from that travesty.
So again, I repeat for emphasis: assume the good in people. At the very least, this mindset will open you up to the culture, sights, and people you encounter throughout your travels. Chances are you will leave a trip with unexpected experiences, acquaintances, or insights that you would not have discovered had you kept to yourself. If you open yourself to the good in others, you are bound to receive some of that good in return! Like I said, this tip doesn't exactly tell you how to speed through the airport to catch your flight. But assume the best in the person standing next to you in the security line, and you never know what could happen!
For more travel tips (both practical and impractical) and photography, visit http://worldlyadvice.tumblr.com/ .
|This iReport is part of an assignment that we created with Travel + Leisure: 100 Ways to Travel Better: Your tips|