Well, maybe this is just a reflection, statistically speaking, of the entire world population, but since I haven’t met everyone, this is just something I am sure most people picked up during their holidays.
Maybe what I like the most in travelling is interaction. How people is just willing to strike up a conversation and share their experiences and hints with you. But what do I mean about “The Travelling 99%”?
Being a bit of a nerd, for a results to be statistically significant and minimize the error on the mean, one needs to have the number of samples large enough (the larger, the better). In other words, careful before labelling something by one single or a very small number of observations.
Interaction is a major part of travelling. There is, though, a fine line between interacting and trusting someone, that’s what this post is about. Interacting at a public place, in a pub is ok, but travelling with someone you just met, maybe sharing a hostel room or, even allowing someone into you home is what the vast majority of people are not comfortable or willing to do. Well, perhaps I understand that, after all, we live on Earth, a planet where we are raised to fear one another, that everyone is out to get you.
That’s why, in my opinion, the hospitality sector exists: The pure mistrust we have of one another. Today, there are several hosting websites where you can contact someone and be able to stay at their homes. These can be great, but they make me question the pure nature of trust. Do you trust anyone (and full stop) or do you trust anyone who may be of aid??? Well, I am an avid host. I have hosted over 50 people in the last few years. Is there a better way to interact and make someone feel welcome than welcoming them to your home? A lot of people are very comfortable going to a strangers’ home, for whatever reason ($$$$$$$), but only as long as no-one knows their address. Hosting is hardly a reciprocal business. A lot of interest-based trust out there, well, but it is trust nonetheless. It’s not because someone is not comfortable having you in their homes that they are not trustworthy. In my experience, they have all been great, but still getting used to the idea of meeting strangers.
It takes dozens of good experiences to break the ice and allow people to open themselves to trust others, but trust is a very fragile sentiment. An extremely sensitive area. It takes time, you can come to trust the world and everyone in it, but all it takes to tarnish it is a single act of selfishness (or necessity) from someone. You may get robbed, screamed at, maybe even hit, but that single event from that single person is what keeps you looking over your shoulder everywhere you go. From that time on, “trust no-one” instinct kicks in. It takes another 100 good experiences and years to get you back up there, but just another one to ruin it.
What I want to say is that these 1% are just an statistical error, the points at the edges of a normal distribution that are very far from the mean. Don’t let them mar the image of the remaining 99%. The world is full of beautiful and honest people! Let it show!
40+ strangers spending christmas day together and exchanging gifts… not so bad for a bad world, right? Photo form a meeting I helped organize in Paris, France.