The Importance of Establishing Trust Whilst Travelling

The Importance of Establishing Trust Whilst Travelling

 

 ‘If fear is holding you back just remember that in general, places are safer and people are kinder than you may expect. Discovering this is one of the beautiful benefits of travelling’ – Justin Alexander

“Be careful. Mind yourself. Take care. Be safe.”
Anyone who’s embarked on a journey further than the corner shop or into town for the day has heard the warnings.
What if you get robbed? Knocked down? Attacked? What if you don’t understand what they’re saying?

Travelling places you directly in the firing line to be stifled and stagnated by these often irrational fears – yet also to conquer them. To experience humanity in all it’s confusing and miscommunicative glory, and for once, to let go and trust it.

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Finding and attending sunrise yoga sessions overlooking the Himalayas, meditating on the mountaintop at Tushita, jamming with local and Israeli musicians at Jolly’s and in tiny cafés and bars hidden away down windy paths in the mountains, and some of the best and cheapest monk-made vegetarian food at Tibetan and Indian restaurants where nobody actually speaks any English….2 years ago these things would have seemed impossible and terrifying for me.

I’ve experienced the anxieties, and I’ve now learned to surrender to the language barriers and embrace my fellow humans as the kindred souls they are. As a solo female traveller in particular, the warnings I received about India were enough to make me doubt my decision the entire flight over here. While an element of common sense is required in navigating unfamiliar soil and encountering cultures and people unaccustomed to communicating with pale-skinned, ginger women, in general, my experience here has been altogether more comfortable than the warnings had led me to expect – something which has left me ashamed of my paranoid actions (or lack thereof) on more than one occasion.

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Building bridges

Having become so used to this typically Irish paranoia, self-consciousness, and disinclination to trust ourselves or others we have come to adopt as the norm, I only realise now how much I was limiting myself in denying the natural inclination and need all humans possess to communicate and be open with one another. Given that communication leads to understanding, and understanding lies at the root of any harmonious relationship – be it mind and body, our relationship with ourselves, with friends, family, food – every aspect of our lives, it follows that the initial first step to reach out and interact with another human is often the most daunting, yet rewarding action we can take.
In the travelling/backpacking scene (in Asia, anyway) it may seem easier to speak to and make new acquaintances as everyone seems in the same boat – all secretly sipping beers or coffees in the underlying hope that the attractive guy across the bar will make the first move and ask you to accompany him to see the temple tomorrow (*swoon*).
We need to stop assuming.
We need to take action for ourselves, be more assertive and attentive to our own needs in the moment, and trust whatever natural direction we receive, be it from the kind stranger who just returned a 10 rupee note you dropped by accident, or the vague gestures of locals towards a forest path with not a word of English to accompany their directions. 9 times out of ten you will find their intentions to be genuine and heartfelt, even if their initial scowls or frowny faces may suggest otherwise. Some cultural differences will never change. It’s a shame that I still sometimes feel the apprehension before trusting the directions or unprovoked aid of a local on the street, but I’ve learned finally to open up and trust their lack of agenda for what it is – honesty.

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New friends and good food…

Travelling has helped me see that people aren’t so bad, really.
Discovering the kindness and hospitality of the Indian and Tibetan people I’ve encountered during my short time here has been fulfilling and heartwarming, and part of the reason I’m so reluctant to leave. While I have been careful not to walk too far alone at night or to concern myself with any ‘dodgy’ looking characters, I’ve found it’s the times when I’ve opened my mouth and made the first greeting, comment, or question to a fellow traveller or local that I have been rewarded with a flicker or flame or warmth and friendship – sometimes lasting no longer than a cup of chai, sometimes a whole week of meeting up for yoga classes, activities, or meals. Climbing mountains with new acquaintances and not being afraid to show your true self or embrace your lack of umbrella in a downpour at the Taj Mahal during monsoon season is about as freeing and grounding an experience as any I can hope to ever have again.

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An Irish & an Indian climb a mountain…

After all, aren’t we all just doing our best to keep going? Keep meeting, discovering, and moving onwards to the next destination, even if it’s just down the road? In my experience you are 10 times more likely to encounter kindness than nasty or dangerous behaviour whilst on the road, and discovering the importance of trust and my capacity to remain calm in these situations has already led me to several places and friendships with people and places I never would have experienced had I remained in my ‘safe’ bubble of a hostel room. While an element of self-awareness and common sense is also necessary, the key is to find a balance between overly-analysing the outcome of potential interactions and ultimately ruining them for yourself before they ever happen, and just going with them without thinking. I’ve come to a peaceful middleground where both sides are now available to me, and now just appreciate that I have the opportunity to experience it all.

 

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Bhagsu Waterfall, Dharamsala

 

 

 

Accessing Your Own Inner ‘Network’ – Self- Communication and the Benefits of Listening to Your Own Desires To Achieve Success

  Accessing Your Own Inner ‘Network

I’ve recently put very promising steps into place in order for me to successfully be able to work on my own terms, doing the things I not only excel at, but feel most passionately about. I’m not quite there yet, but the seeds have been planted (and deposits paid!) which will hopefully blossom into something extremely fulfilling and enjoyable – and after all, isn’t that the most we can hope to achieve from our ‘work’? I place ‘work’ in inverted commas here as I’m a firm believer in the whole ‘do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’, cliché. I’ll explain why shortly.

‘Success’ is another relative term. To achieve ‘success’, you first have to establish what your own understanding or expectation of ‘success’ is. In doing so, you may realise that you’re setting unfair expectations and deadlines for yourself without even realising it (warning sign number one!), and as such creating a mis-communication between your real passion and the human vessel through which it is trying to be expressed- that’s you, body!

Humans thrive on communication – on our daily interactions with one another. Before the days when ‘networking’ meant socialising merely for potential business or financial progression, we interacted on a more natural, humane basis, and really enjoyed having company and experiencing connection for the simple knowledge and reassurance it gave us that we weren’t alone in the world.
I despise the term ‘networking’, yet I understand why in today’s world it has unfortunately become a necessity. Even online – our interactions are now preceded with a weighty amount of agenda, pre-considered opinions and over-thought out potential scenarios – and that’s just by hitting ‘add friend’. Given the rapid-expansion of online social networks and their use and benefit for business growth, it is understandable that the trends and ‘most useful’ or most dependable means of communication are now continuously changing. Last year the most popular messaging app was Viber. Now it’s Whatsapp. Next year it will be something else, and I can’t remember the last time I sent an actual text message!

While keeping in touch with those on the outside and far away has become easier and more accessible than ever before, we unfortunately seem to have lost the altogether more important and pressing ability to get in contact with ourselves. It is so easy to get swept away in the wishes and passions of others, purely because it seems like the right thing to do or the most ‘socially acceptable’ course of action.
Whenever I find myself getting confused about my own actions or wishes, my current endeavours or simply my own reasoning for doing things, I can’t help but look at myself (as ‘Linked In’ conveniently provides as an option *rolls eyes*) through the eyes of my fellow social media users.

Would I add myself as a friend? Why? What could I possibly hope to gain from it?

Writing ‘About Me’ sections and ‘Bios’ defining myself in 150 characters or less has really forced me to sit back and reconsider my entire position in this world, and more often than not has left me anxious and concerned about my qualifications (or lack thereof) to work in the chosen fields I am placing myself within. Anyone can define themselves as a ‘writer’, a ‘musician’, an ‘accountant’, a ‘digital marketing strategist’, …the list goes on. I’ve written bios and personal statements for friends defining the areas they have chosen to dabble in, achievements they are proud of, and hopes for the future. While I’ll admit to feeling a sense of satisfaction on successfully condensing my life’s achievements and current existence into two or three carefully constructed lines of words, I’ve also questioned the very action of defining myself in such a way. It seems so limiting, so final. I’ve also worried about things I’ve posted online, purely for their permanency and irreversible presence.

The reality of it is that in today’s business and networking world, people are embarking on career changes and dipping their toes in the appealing paddling pools of new jobs and ventures becoming available like I change my mind about what socks to wear on a daily basis. The difference between those who succeed and appear content about their choice of lifestyle and those who choose to stay stuck in a rut they don’t enjoy, is that they don’t worry too much about it. They just go with it. They try it. If it works – brilliant. If it doesn’t – at least they tried. The next step might be more straightforward. If not that one, then maybe the next, and so forth….
I’ve lost count of the amount of times my parents have expressed concern or confusion over the fact that I don’t currently have a 9-5 job, and moreso the reality that a little part of me vomits a bit in my mouth whenever the thought of it surfaces. It’s simply not a bracket I see myself fitting anymore, the stifling prospect of any contract longer than a year enough to make me run a mile in the opposite direction, (or at least book a flight!).

In choosing to have a little faith in myself and my own talents, capabilities and potential instead of denying myself the possibility of happiness and creative fulfillment I have come to associate with most reliable and contracted incomes, the reality that is my life right now, has already taken a turn for the better. Even before I’ve achieved anything in the rough blueprint I’ve laid out for myself. I’m not saying this will be the case for everyone, but for me, it’s an unfortunate (or fortunate, whatever way you look at it!) truth.
I’ve muddled my way through several jobs and possibilities, considered certain routes and potential roads to take, all with the wrong outlook. Where before I looked externally to what people would think if I did this or what it would look like if I did that as a means of judging whether or not to proceed, I have now learnt to communicate with my own desires, and with the way my thoughts and talents work. I now have the tools to connect to my own inner network, and a better knowledge of the frequency it functions best at. Self-communication and understanding is the key to this.

There’s no guarantee I’ll succeed, but then again, there’s no guarantee that I’ll fail either. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll tweak it until it does. Like a recipe you can’t quite get right – it might not end up exactly as you had expected in the first place, but if it still tastes great and nourishes you in all the right ways, then what’s not to love?

I Want To Write

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I want to write, but ideally I don’t want to present you with repeated and recycled bullshit that I’ve seen online, and endless lists of things people don’t really care about purely to get ‘views’.
I want to write, but not be the kind of writer that is rude and/or judgemental of people who really don’t deserve it, again, purely to get attention or views online and in print.
I want to write, and not have to care about how well a piece of work is received or spread, because spending the entire creative process of writing it worrying how people are going to percieve and view it defeats the entire purpose of expressing my thoughts in the first place. The second I let a thought concerning other people’s opinions of my work enter my head, it no longer belongs to me. It has been tainted.
I want to write because I feel it is my way of communicating with the world, of putting some sort of solidity on the blinks and glances of thoughts that flit through my brain on a daily basis as I move from place to place, and possibly to make some sense of the more ambiguous ones; to really break them down in order to be able to put them all together again.

I want to write because I want to understand. I want to learn from what I see around me, I want to be able to structure some solid opinions and views on the world that are just not possible for me to clarify without writing them down.
I want to write to be able to support myself and feel a sense of fulfillment; to ensure I am able to travel around and see all there is to see, learn what there is to learn, and write about it while I go.
I want to write because I want to travel, and I feel that pictures can only capture the brink of what it really is to experience a new culture; a new country; a new climate or timezone.
I want to write because writing for me feels as natural as breathing, and having nothing and nowhere to write about is as suffocating as sitting at an office desk where the windows don’t open and the heating is stuck on high in the middle of Summer.

I want to be a writer, and I’m not going to pretend I haven’t bought into the current trends of trying to write ‘hilarious’ reviews with catchy or crude headlines, or pieces that will go viral online and receive a high readership – because I have. I’ve tried to write things people will find entertaining, interesting, insightful even. And sometimes I’ve succeeded. But where my heart truly lies, and it’s taken me a while to figure this out – is in movement, travel, and observing the world around me as I go. Staying still prevents the flow of words that comes like a torrent of ideas, emotions, and possibilities whenever I step foot into the world outside my door, whether it’s on board a plane, boat, train, bus; anything.
I want to write, and I will always continue to write and recount life experiences I have around the world, regardless if I ever eventually make it to Bali, Tokyo, or the Amazon. Anywhere will do. I just need to be moving. I need to be in motion for the channels of inspiration and structure to work together and allow me to produce something that makes sense.
I want to write, but I also want to travel, and the World is my destination.