Talking with other travelers
Trip Start Feb 18, 2010
93Trip End Ongoing
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They "get it" the way we "get it"...because they are doing it too. There is rarely the shock and awe treatment we received back home when telling others our travel plan. They are most likely doing the same thing, some traveling for a couple of months, some going on 2 years, and some have just never gone home. We're in good company. I can blog about our experiences but with other travelers we can swap stories. We inspire each other to go to different countries, to take the night bus, to try breathing underwater. And everyone is open minded. Everyone is psyched to travel. Everyone is addicted.
The best part about talking with other travelers is that we CAN talk! Even if English is not their first language, they have most likely been studying it since they were small and are almost fluent. English sort of is a universal language in that way. (Although we did have a good time talking with a British couple about all the different English/American words).
These are times when you can "be yourself" again by being able to converse and understand. It's all part of the learning experience and meeting new people, but a common language changes everything! It's great for us to talk with other travelers (even Jon and I can't speak to only each other 24/7). It's also usually these times when we drink the most too! There's a common bond between us and a lot of laughing.
We talk about our best and worst experiences. Swapping bad bus stories alongside rare animal sightings. Comparing different countries food/culture/religion/tourist impact. Through doing this we reflect on our own journey and realize how truly amazing and unique it really was and is. Even though we know it in our heads, being able to tell someone else about say, the Philippines, shapes our perspective on our experience there.
For instance, Thai food is the best food we've had so far, followed by Indonesia where flavors of spices and herbs collide in the mouth. Filipino cuisine on the other hand mainly consists of two flavors (salt or sugar), but the people were the friendliest of anywhere! For us, the beautiful daily worship of the gods and the fascinating dances in Bali give it the culture prize, while the faster paced melting pot that is Singapore gives me the familiar comfort of the city. Oh and the Thais can definitely kick some ass (see Thai Boxing post).
Telling somebody else this shapes our past experience into something real and interesting. Talking about it brings it to life and helps it takes shape.
When speaking with other backpackers we realize that traveling is not so tough (the first step is often the hardest) and we none of us feel all that brave, but we still give each other pats on the back for actually doing it.