Thursday, March 28, 2013

Nobody to Somebody

"Some stranger took me from Titiwangsa to Petronas today." 

"Weren't you afraid?"

There was a brief pause before I finally told Martin, "No. Actually I never really thought about it until now."

Funny my host asked why I wasn't scared when he was also a complete nobody to me until the morning we met... Which was on the same day this happened. 

I have always had trust issues. I don't remember when and how it started, but I know I'm never the trusting type of person. Sure, we could talk about our secrets and tell each other the darkest stuff about ourselves, but it takes time, even years before I finally lay my elusive trust on you.

But since I started travelling on my own, I realised I'm trusting my life more to strangers than I actually trust people I've known for so many years. It's quite ironic to think that I am more at ease with unknowns, rather than those who knew me almost since birth. I have grown accustomed to living with people I have only met for a few days, all thanks to Couchsurfing. I have also eaten, walked, and spent happy hours with locals who despite having a hard time conversing in English, take the time to help me plan out my itinerary and without a miss, direct me to where I am supposed to go. I look back and think I could have gotten some serious trouble if I weren't so keen. Imagine, a petite girl, with very poor eyesight, who looks like she can't kill a bug to save her life, hanging out with complete 'aliens'. Luckily, three countries after (including the Philippines) I am still here alive, unharmed, and still have all my belongings intact. It's also amusing that those people you think you know and knew you way back are those who sometimes lead you astray.

Sometimes, I wonder what I was thinking when I joined those people because I would never talk to anyone I don't know. Usually, I think twice before I go with or talk to someone, as what I was taught. But recently, I give in to blind trust and eventually follow my instincts. I guess that's the good thing about travelling alone. You are forced to get out of your comfort zone, speak up, and immerse yourself to a community completely new to you. Maybe without thinking about it, my problem with opening up and trusting people have become my motivation to finally open myself to others. 

So far, I have spent nights sleeping on the couch and beds of three different people who I just met weeks before. Walked around with a fellow traveller I have only talked with over e-mails and sms before meeting up in real life. Exchanged stories and itineraries with a nomad I met on a plane. Ate at sidewalks with strange menu and not thinking about what I am actually eating. Rode a car with a man who only asked for my blog address in exchange for his kindness (hello, if you're reading this!) Going from one place to another with someone who was kind enough to pay for my fare and the list of awesome experiences with strangers pile up every time I set foot on a new destination. I have also maintained good relationships with most of them that some have become my close friends! These people have also helped shape some of my thoughts and have been instrumental with my life path. I find myself coming back to their stories every time I think about my future. 

Maybe I'm just lucky enough with my encounters. Maybe it's the heaven telling me it's okay to trust. I'm not so sure of the reasons why all of these are happening. But one thing is true, these people are responsible for the greatest things I have ever experienced throughout my trips. I could not imagine how my travels would have been if it weren't for them. 

Here's to hoping I get all the luck in the world and meet more wonderful strangers along the way.