Do you ever find yourself spilling your guts to complete strangers? I left my hotel in Pamukkale in near-tears last week after the soul-baring conversation I had with someone I had met only three hours before. I rarely travel solo but when I do, I find myself talking more to people that if I was accompanied. Not that it means that I’m airing the dirty laundry out whenever I find myself in the presence of a stranger!
After my tiring day out, I was sipping some çay which the host’s wife had kindly made me when a group of Asian tourists barged in. Having spent the whole day on my own, it felt quite nice to have some (normal) people to have a chat with. It was quite funny when they had a smell at my şiş kebap – they were apparently all on a vegetarian diet for this particular trip and the smell on the home-cooked kebap was definitely too much for them. One of the tourists who had joined us a bit later and hadn’t managed to grab a seat with his travel buddies ended up sitting at my table in the end. And that is how the soul-baring-spilling-my-guts conversation started.
When I think about it, I found it so easy to tell him things that I found and still find hard to share with people who are closest to me. So much has happened in the past year, some of which we just avoid talking about. But it felt quite refreshing to discuss with someone who was not involved in my life, in any capacity. I’m grateful for everyone I have in my life and the support they have provided but sometimes it is just so complicated that I would rather just avoid talking about the whole issue altogether. Or for them not to worry.
The best things about the conversations with strangers is without any doubt the “no strings attached” situation. You know that this person is not going to call you the following week and see if you’re alright, bringing up the issue you wanted buried in the first place. You also know that they’re more likely to be less judgemental because they don’t and won’t know the whole story like your close ones do. You start afresh, with a clean slate and you give out or keep in as much as your want. Rather than seeking emotional support, it’s more of a personal statement you’re making. Most of the times, it probably is the things you’re usually telling yourself when you’re alone – but let’s be honest, it feels better when you know someone is listening.
And it feel even better when you get the reaction that my stranger after our little exchange. It had been a long time since I have seen such honesty and raw feelings in someone and I felt really blessed to have met him. I definitely came back to Ankara with a lighter heart than when I had left. Travelling definitely is the best sort of therapy.
Do you even bare it all out with strangers on your travels (in the most figurative way of course)?