you know how they always say that meeting new people is the best part of travelling? or how it broadens your mind? everyone has heard it and everyone knows it, but does everyone KNOW it? because I didn’t.
I get on well with people, but since I remember I would always get anxious and uneasy meeting new people to the point I would instinctively avoid situations that would force me to interact with strangers - leaving the room, declining invitations, staying at home. spending more time reading and watching films than talking to actual people was next natural step I took in my teens in order to disconnect myself from the world and unlearn the (already poor) social skills I had. I started to physically and socially transition, both sides of it helped me open up, realise people can be wonderful and selflessly kind. transition also made me want to share myself with other people for the first time, I found myself excited and ready to do things I never thought I would long for. like travelling, hitch-hiking, couchsurfing.
New York city was the first place I visited in a foreign country in years and I couldn’t feel more grateful for that experience. I met an old lady from Peru and her friend who didn’t speak a word in English(nor did I in Spanish) while waiting for our delayed trains in NYC. within a week I not only learned I could feel at home outside of my hometown but, more importantly, that travelling is people. I got back, I felt weird and inadequate- I missed being on the road, discovering places, looking up routes, getting lost, finding my way, having to ask for directions. I was ready for more.
when academic year ended, I had a number of plans for the summer, but within a month it turned out none of them would work out because of indecision and my travelling companions changing their mind or not being involved enough. I felt disappointed and let down, but I figured if I were to wait for the right companion, I could wait forever, so I decided to do it on my own and perhaps the right people would find me somewhere along the way. Noah invited me to his new flat in Leipzig and said we could visit Berlin. it sounded perfect because it was foreign enough to make a first solo travelling challenge, but familiar enough to not experience cultural shock and feel very lost. I bought bus tickets to Berlin and posted a question on my blog asking if someone had a couch I could crush on in the city. I received an anonymous message from Konstantin saying he was a graphic design graduate, lived with two cats and that I was welcome to stay at his place. I instantly said yes and I wasn’t even aware of how much we had in common, I slept on his couch for three nights, we took the worst photo-booth pictures together, he showed me around the city and made sure I felt at home. I met Heng whom I designed a bear tattoo for a couple years ago, we went to a cafe for cats and people with cats, Heng was able to bring me a different perspective of Berlin and Neukölln than anyone else. I met a guy from Palestine who told me he just moved to Berlin to marry a German man, we cycled to Kreuzberg together for half an hour and said goodbye. I met Jonas who is the sweetest guy, we had a falafel and a perfect ratio of silly loud laughter and quality conversations, I stayed at Jonas’ place for a night. I met Noah feeling I’ve known him for years, he shared a burger and his apartment with me, he introduced me to Julia, they cooked for me, they told me everything I needed to know to want to go to India one day, they went naked swimming with me.
I just booked plane tickets to Morocco through Barcelona and London. over three weeks on tour!