Monday, 18 June 2012

The People You Meet...

Getting to know each other...

I think, for me, one of the best and strangest parts (I don't want to say 'worst') about travelling are the people you meet as you explore a place.  Take my most recent trip...boy, did I encounter a slice of life!  On arrival at my first hostel, I found myself sharing a room with a lovely, but rather anally retentive 65 year old gentleman from North America, who spoke fluent Latvian and kindly invited me out to a traditional bar, nearby, to sample the delights of the local folk music and dancing.  I took up his offer and had an amusing night trying to make this typically strait-laced Canadian laugh without him breaking down anything humorous I ribbed him about into a rational (and often tiring) explanation.  The fact that we ended up sharing drinks with the staff and got a tour of the kitchens in the restaurant near the hostel we stayed in just made the night even more bizarre, yet strangely fun!

This North American traveller thing bothers me when I travel.  I don't know why, but I've met very few Americans and Canadians, on my travels, that are a genuine laugh and riot to be with.  For example, take the American father and daughter combo I encountered on my recent trip.  They were just so uncomfortable to be around as they seemed so guarded and factual in everything they talked about; there was no 'letting go' and chuckling about cultural differences or just settling into the enjoyment of a our very own 'mini-United Nations' bonded not by resolutions, but Lithuanian vodka and the strange taste of the pickled goods on offer.  The Irish, the Mexicans, the Dutch, the Swiss, the Lithuanian and the Australian got it, but I somehow feel in these situations the North American, and in particular the American, just didn't enjoy the sense of travel camaraderie and sharing of stories of past and current travels in a jovial way.

Am I right or am I just talking a load of rubbish?  Is it that I have simply met people from the States who stay in hostels for the price not the social aspect of life in a dorm/common room?  It would be great to hear other travellers' thoughts on this one.

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