Travelling With An Open Mind

The 13 hour bus journey ended up being 15 hours…at the border I queued up for an hour and when I was next to be served their was a powercut!! We had to wait another hour and then oh joy I had to sit back next to mr.chatty with cheesy feet.

He was unbelievably negative, telling me he missed good food and Peruvians cant prepare food as he can with the finest cuts of meat. He was asking me why young people come here when it’s so dirty and you can’t even find good coffee places. He then showed me his very expensive sailboat and million dollar house. I tried to explain that travel was about appreciating differences and that I didn’t come here for coffee plus I think the food is amazing!!

Before leaving I read several blogs about Ecuador, I was shocked at how negative they were. One girl wrote 5 pages on how she constantly thought she was going to be robbed and everywhere was terrible. I kept reading as I figured her recommendation for somewhere good must be amazing as she seemed to struggle with saying nice things but she ended by saying the only good thing about her trip was that she stayed at the Hilton and it reminded her of home.

I think it’s important to try and make negative experiences positive, sometimes it’s just a case of opening your mind. I know here a lot of people stop and stare, it’s not because they ALL want to rob us, they know we are foreign and are intrigued by us. They are so inquisitive about our countries and our views on theirs. Giving people time to speak to you allows you to have a sense of immersion and a much better travelling experience because you understand their culture more. Try to see the best in things, it will enrich your experience.

I purposely began this blog in a negative way because I wanted to show you that if you focus on the negatives you will miss out on all the great things right in front of you, yes it was probably one of the most annoying journeys of my trip as he was also heavily into politics and had VERY conflicting views to mine throwing around comments like “Arabs are disgusting people” and that was one of many.

When I look back on that journey what I remember most is the beautiful landscapes, how breathtakingly green Ecuador is and the way the mist settled at the foot of the mountains. I remember all the cute little towns with people sitting outside talking till the early hours of the morning. I remember the beautiful sunrise peaking through the mountains until it flooded the sky with light…And I remember meeting a 60 something negative man who I eventually couldn’t ignore anymore because I really felt he should be wiser then he actually was and after giving him a very large piece of my mind he shut up and then 20 minutes later told me I was right. So I remember opening someone’s mind and I know that he helped me grow too, maybe just my level of tolerence but that’s growth too.

Always travel with an open mind and the intention to understand a new culture. Stop comparing things to how they happen in your country, people do what they know, the western world has a different level of efficiency/cleanliness/safety because that’s what we know, we have the opportunity to travel not to judge but to learn and teach in some cases and most people here will never have that opportunity. Learn lessons that matter, how people can be so happy with nothing, how if you have love and gratitude in your life you don’t need much else and always remember you get out what you put in!

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