Too many times through the course of history women were silenced. Too many times over the centuries their mobility and freedom were stifled by the notion that females needed an escort whenever they left their homes. Because of the spirited evolution of our gender, these limitations are gone. We now have more power over our lives, our choices, and our destinies.
I believe everyone is a teacher. I believe in the kindness of strangers. I believe in the innate goodness of people. And as I have become a seasoned traveler, I finally have the confidence to talk to strangers, an endeavor that has brought me much joy. It may be just a “hi” in passing or a “nice day, isn’t it?”. I smile a lot, so many times I get smiles back. I use humor during some encounters because nothing is better than sharing a laugh with someone.
Talking to people is an art coming from the heart and made effective by intuition and careful awareness of the other person. Yes, I have come across people who don’t wish to be bothered. I don’t impose myself on them. I’m careful to engage people who have time to talk….people waiting in line, shop owners, other travelers, etc. I think I succeed because I am a person who genuinely likes people.
I think women have a advantage in connecting with people when traveling. Because of societal labels, fair or unfair, we are still perceived as a less threating gender. I find that I can comfortably initiate conversations with all groups; women, men and children.
Society is fractured right now. We label people who are different than us and then we join a tribe that believes the same things we do. We then become an exclusive group that diminishes the value of others. I feel strongly that we need to stop putting people in broad categories and start talking to and really listening to as many different people as we can. Our world needs to release itself from being so judgmental and distrusting. We can learn from each other and in the process make this planet a lot more peaceful place.
Michael Crichton in his book Travels wrote about how venturing out into the world creates a level playing field. Away home, no one knows our profession, educational level, or how much money we have in the bank. It is our character and attitude that distinguishes us. It is our spirit, our openness to new experiences, and our acceptance of others that defines us. As Thoreau once said, “Being is the great explainer.”
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