The human side on the road
An insight into how behaviour and our actions change according to different circumstances.
A few weeks ago, in an attempt to somehow satisfy my wanderlust, I found myself reflecting on what particularly fascinates me about travel.
It didn't take me long to realise: it's people.
In particular, I find it very interesting to note how human beings act differently depending on the circumstances they find themselves in; they may be: place, culture, personal emotions and so on.
So, in today's article, I have decided to write my own opinion on the subject, demarcating the main differences and highlighting the positive aspects of them.
The way people know each other
This is one of the aspects I find most fascinating and on which I would like to spend a few more words.
I wondered why, when travelling, people get to know each other in a more authentic, genuine way.
Of course, one of the main reasons could be that of the unknown: I don't know and therefore I am free from prejudices, so I have less difficulty in showing myself for who I am, the real me.
Un altro motivo potrebbe essere quello dell’affinity, for example: one is a traveller and/or is somehow in a certain place for the same reason. It could be work, study or, in case of holidays, common interests.
More trivially, a passion for travelling.
Well, beyond these good reasons, I found it interesting to reflect on how human beings behave and interact differently depending on the situation and the place around them.
The most fascinating thing, in my opinion, is precisely the first approach. Let us reflect on this together.
Try to think: what is the first thing you ask when introducing yourself to a stranger you meet in your hometown?
As far as I'm concerned, people usually ask things like: “What do you do for a living?”
Simple and clear question, to which we often try to impress the interlocutor in order to make a good impression.
However, in my opinion, questions of this kind are belittling; I mean that in this way we tend to categorise and label a person on the basis of their job or what they study, leaving out their true essence.
The most trivial example: I am thinking of a young graduate who is "satisfied" with the first job available for obvious reasons. It is easy to get a rough idea about the latter, isn't it?
That is why I find this approach wrong. Because in this way we do nothing but get a rough and inferior idea of the person we are talking to.
When travelling, however, this does not happen.
Wandering around the world, in fact, I realised that the first questions one asks when meeting a stranger are: “where are you from?” and “why are you here?”
Two basic questions, but by no means trivial.
It is amazing to see how these two simple questions can lead to long conversations and friendships.
Even more fascinating, I stress, is the difference in approach.
I am especially referring to the question "why are you here?". Some may be on holiday, others may be there for study or others for work, some may be there to escape from an unaccepted reality.
In my opinion, this is an effective way to start getting to know a person in a more genuine way.
One can easily find common interests, which is essential to be able to hold a conversation with a stranger, and one can touch upon personal and deep topics.
We all like to talk about ourselves, some more, some less. It makes us feel comfortable and gives us importance, as long as we are listened to. And having to explain why we are in that particular place makes us break the ice in a simple and accurate way, because we know exactly why we are there and we like to share it.
This I think is a fundamental starting point in human interaction between strangers on a journey.
Judgments and prejudices
In addition, the journey completely strips us of our prejudices and exposes our true personality, which happens because it puts us to the test and therefore makes our fears and character traits emerge more easily.
If you think about it, in the situation described above, the initial judgement based on what we do in life is completely demolished. Instead, you create an idea of your interlocutor based on the reasons why he/she has been pushed to undertake that particular journey.
And you can appreciate it or not, agree or disagree with it, but you still create a deeper connection.
This is an abysmal difference that I personally like a lot about travel itself.
And here one could write a book.
I start with a premise describing my personal experience and leave it to you to draw the conclusions.
Our mind is easily comparable to a chewing gum: it is up to us to decide whether to let it be violently chewed by futile information or, on the contrary, to enrich it with what really matters.
Personally, before I started travelling, I let my mind be chewed ferociously by what society offers, without any problem.
When I started to travel, finally, something started to change.
Connecting with the local people and cultures opened my eyes and mind enormously and helped me to focus, rather, on the true meaning of happiness.
Years ago, I was very attached to material objects. As I have travelled, this side of me has faded more and more, making the concept of minimalism more and more accepted in my life.
By connecting with different cultures, you learn to value experiences over objects.
You learn what lasting happiness is. Yes, because buying an object or any material thing brings temporary joy, which soon fades away and we have to replace it with something else as a reward.
Experiences, on the other hand, last a long time. They stick. And they are often free!
I think of a cup of herbal tea in good company under a starry sky, a walk in the park, the smile of a passer-by.
Are the simple things. And you learn how much joy people and the moments spent with them bring you back.
So you begin to have a different approach to life and to mankind.
You will be ready to welcome people with a big smile and open arms.
I find it very interesting how travel can profoundly bring out our true personality and allow us to show ourselves for who we really are..
When we are confined within the walls of our city, our mind is also surrounded by high barriers that are difficult to surmount.
When we travel, we strip ourselves of these limitations and are able to peek beyond these obstacles and plunge in with a lead foot. Or cautious. It depends on the situation. Most of the time, however, we are satisfied because we can see a reality that would otherwise remain unknown to us.
Decisions and actions
This certainly varies according to your personality but, as far as I'm concerned, when you're on the road you seize the moment more and throw yourself more headlong into things.
You know that annoying little voice that torments you, stopping you from taking that next step? That little voice that keeps you from going and having a conversation with that stranger because you like him or her, or because you simply feel like it.
Personally, when I travel, this little voice disappears in me, always linked to a question of prejudices and fears that we were talking about earlier.
You know that when you travel you are passing through and so you tend to make the most of every situation.
This is also a very important growth process. You learn to appreciate and embrace the concept of “seizing the moment”.
This brings me to another very important aspect of the human side of travelling: gratitude.
Perhaps my favourite.
Developing gratitude is a slow, extremely personal process and must also be cultivated according to your approach to life.
I realised this during my one-year stay in Australia, the land of my dreams. I was happy and grateful for where I was and didn't take it for granted every single second.
Of course, the people you meet along the way help change your perspective but it all depends on your approach. And in travelling, you always keep in mind that you are passing through. So you inevitably try to make the most of your time. And when you return home you will reflect on your feelings and realise how little it takes to be happy.
You will enjoy the joy and excitement of travelling so much that when you return, you will not be able to do without it.
You will try to find joy in every little thing and you will begin to look at your surroundings with different eyes.
Travelling also makes you more active.
Always related to being grateful: you find joy in simplicity and therefore you are constantly seeking to “do things”. And I'm talking about any situation. From sport, to personal projects or in general to your own strengths.
You will realise that your reservoir of energy will have a greater capacity and this will bring you well-being.
You know that thrill you get when you arrive at a destination for the first time and want to see everything in a hurry? This feeling fades, of course, once you finish visiting but the urge to explore remains.
Then you start to find new hobbies, learn new skills and are ready to learn and experiment.
Travelling opens your mind and stimulates creativity, which helps you become more productive and have more energy.
It may be obvious, but I would like to emphasise it anyway, because travel brings a delightful and incomparable feeling of comfort.
It is a series of connections between culture, people, sensations that lead to a state of pleasant well-being, unlike any other.
It is the carefreeness of looking at a different sky.
The smiles on people's faces.
The constantly changing nature and landscapes.
The simplicity of being part of the same planet and the desire to live life in company.
These are some of the aspects that I found interesting to explore regarding the human side of travelling, as opposed to the “sedentary” side.
If you find yourself between these lines or have any other tips, I would be super pleased if you let me know in a comment!
We can learn so much from travel and experiences.
It's not easy but it would be nice and recommended to be able to bring and apply some aspects of our side on the road, even where we live.
Be grateful and enjoy life one hundred percent, always.