I sometimes get flack from my friends and family about some of the decisions I make as a solo traveler. I go to faraway places, alone. I go to places that some would consider questionable or dangerous. I go to places where I don’t speak the language; where I don’t have cell service. I sleep in hostel dorms with other people. I’ve gotten into cars and stayed with people I met on Couchsurfing.
To some, it may seem like risky behavior. But I operate under the mindset and worldview that almost all people, everywhere, are good and kind.
I know, it’s a pretty bold statement. I assure you, I’m not oblivious or ignorant to the terrible things in the world. Nor do I think I’m immune to inconvenient or unfortunate things happening to me. I keep my wits about me and practice street smarts. I listen to my gut, 100% of the time. It’s never a bad thing to stay alert, and you should too.
But what I’ve learned during all of my travails, is that really, truly, most people are good. They’re not out to get you or me. And because I believe that wholeheartedly, I’ve seen the generosity, hospitality, and grace that exists all over the world.
It’s a much more positive outlook than the opposite. Holding the opposite view, while it may keep you “safe,” forces you to live in a shelter of unsubstantiated fear — keeping yourself from truly experiencing a place and the people that live there, closed off to connections and friendships.
Here are just three examples of kindness in action:
- In Ecuador, when I fell off a moving bus, I felt a stranger’s kindness from a street vendor who gave me a free bottle of water
- Somewhere between Venice and Salzburg when my train was severely delayed well into the night, and I was almost in tears with panic, a French couple saved the day by allowing me to connect via their mobile hotspot to get in touch with my Couchsurfing host
- My Couchsurfing host was so sweet and gracious and came to get me from the train station at 2 a.m., which was a relief beyond words. Press play to hear the whole story!
What do you think? Do you agree? Leave me a comment!