They say that Travel changes you but really, it doesn’t change anything;
I moved to a new Krakow hostel a few nights ago and he was the only person staying in my dorm when we exchanged the usual silent stare of “who the f$%k is this axe murderer?”. Although I guess this was a slightly better greeting than the smart phone gang downstairs.
It sounds pretty stupid now but there was a time on my travels when I would assume to have had nothing in common with a person from some place in a strange part of the world. In fact, in previous years I may never have taken the time to find out anything at all about his lonely trip through Europe or his sudden relief to be now speaking with another person.
We laughed until 3am and I’m not sure what we talked about exactly but the next morning he wondered why I referred to myself as “the Songbird of my generation”.
My time in Krakow is coming to an end and while it has been a Month of focusing on earning income online rather than travel itself, it’s now clear how this experience as always, was a reflection of the random strangers I encounter.
Does travel change anything?
I hear quite often that meeting new people is a “great experience” but unfortunately in my own experience and either for reasons of anxiety or social awkwardness, this has not always been the case which means it’s a pretty big deal to be noticing these changes in my own attitude now.
Hisbullah is from Singapore and meeting him in Krakow was a reminder that time is way too short to be afraid of saying hello to the person next to you.
They say that Travel changes you but really, it doesn’t change anything and mostly you just decide to change everything yourself.
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Loved your post especially since I’m travelling right now and although I have not stayed in dorms, I can relate with the “talking to stranges” part 😊
Yes, if we’re being totally honest with ourselves, not everyone we meet on our travels is going to be a ‘memorable person who we met’. I agree that, for travel to be a life-changing experience, we have to actively make it so, rather than passively wait for it to somehow work its magic. Doing like Hisbullah is a good way to start.
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I can relate with that. I’d consider myself an introvert, and sometimes find it difficult to chat with strangers. But it does make my trips more memorable if I do have conversations with strangers. Sometimes it’s because of their stories, other times because of travel tips they share. And sometimes it doesn’t even require that we speak the same language. Today I discovered a cool new Vietnamese street food snack thanks to chatting to a stranger on the side of the road and got completely lost on an island in the Mekong Delta thanks to a sign language conversation with some kids. Both made my day way better than it would have been without those conversations.
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I love this post! I’ve explored cities with hostelmates and have kept in touch with some. I actually met my current boyfriend at a hostel in Switzerland a year and a half ago. My best friend and I were traveling together, and most of the people in the hostel ignored us. It seemed everyone spoke a different language. But we met a British guy in the laundry room and hung out with him for the rest of our trip. We now travel all over together.