I recall so many great moments in my life, and many of them only happened because I trusted in the people around me and I trusted in myself.
I heard the same warning over and over, “Be careful,” and I was careful, but I also let my intuition and my ability to judge situations guide me, especially when I traveled to foreign countries.
“Don’t mingle with the natives,” they often said and I never really understood. How can you learn something -anything- about a different country, if you don’t have contact with the people who live there?
Common sense comes in handy. You don’t travel to a poorer country and show off your jewelry and wave around the dollar bills. You don’t act provocative in someone else’s home.
“Don’t mingle with the natives,” that was a rule I was not willing to accept.
I wanted to meet the natives, wanted to eat what they were eating; I wanted to see how they were living. I wanted to learn about their way of life -if they would let me. I had chosen a career that had me traveling the world; I wanted to widen my horizon, I wanted to learn. How can we learn when we aren’t open to new things?
I remember a small tavern in Greece, it was just a few blocks away from the hotel we were staying at and I felt magically drawn to the place. I was tired of the hotel food, was tired of some of my co-workers. We worked together during the day; I was not too thrilled about spending the evenings with them as well.
One night I went for a stroll and automatically walked into the direction of the tavern. I heard music and laughter and the smell of food made my mouth water.
I opened the door and everybody -and I mean everybody- looked at me. The conversations stopped for a few seconds, and I felt like an intruder until an older gentleman waved at me. He invited me in and I gladly accepted.
They shuffled chairs around, and I was asked to sit with them. There I was, the young Austrian woman with her pale face and freckles in between all these beautiful dark skinned people with black hair. I stood out like a fly in the milk, and nobody cared.
They made me feel welcome; they were curious about the stranger who had come to visit them, and I was curious about them. We talked with hands and feet and tried a mix of languages.
The music played, and I watched men dance.They made me feel welcomed, and I willingly shared some of my life with them.
I canceled my dinners in the hotel and spend my evenings in that little tavern instead. I learned a lot about their way of life. We were not so different after all -we never are.
“Aren’t you afraid?” people often asked me, and I always wondered about that. Sometimes I was scared, and I walked away, other times I wasn’t, and I trusted. How can we explain why we trust? How can we explain why we feel fear?
I feel that distrust is on the rise in this world, while trust is on the short supply list and I wish so much I could change that. Trust is nothing more than confidence in the other person.
I wish we would give each other a little bit more credit.
“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”
― Ernest Hemingway