If you are going to get your feet dirty as a traveler you have to break every childhood rule you were ever told.
These were not rules or laws. They were a sacred codex for childhood protection. Even now the voice of your still young mother echoes back through your mind
‘Never Talk to Strangers…’
TAKE CANDY FROM STRANGERS
And food, and advice and directions and whatever you can glean that will aid you in your travels. Being the subject of the kindness of strangers has long been the tradition for travelers, and this kindness, whether in the form of a meal, a shot of whiskey, a machete or a still good bus pass, is one of the sweeter moments of your days on the road.
ALWAYS ACCEPT RIDES
You will literally get nowhere if you don’t accept rides from total strangers. From the beckoning moto men of Saigon to buxom Italian women on Harley Davidson’s, I have climbed aboard hundreds of two wheeled vehicles piloted by a person whom I know nothing about.
This suspension of judgment in the face of possible peril will not only get you to where you need to be, it will likely be a damn good time.
There were one or two rides that had my heart knocking on the backs of my teeth, but that is another blog all together.
TALK TO STRANGERS
Who else you gonna talk to? The pleasure, opportunity and temerity to travel the world affords you the privilege of meeting some damn interesting people. For me that is possibly the chief pleasure of travel, the people. The fellow traveler, the local kids, the scholars, the beats and drunkards, the old souls and surfing energy healers. The hostel owner.
The soldiers on the train.
And you. You are, after all, one of those strangers someone’s mother warned them about…
Now, the bits about life not being fair and money not growing trees…she was spot-on wasn’t she?