One of the greatest fears people encounter when traveling, especially solo, is the fear of being alone. There is a certain discomfort that comes with being without those who we generally surround ourselves with. We are suddenly “alone.” However ,over the past three years, I have come to realize that this fear is largely unfounded. Somehow , you are never really alone. A lot of the time you are caught by people’s humanity.
You will find that even though you do not have your loved ones by your side ; help will be there if you need it. There is a greater force out there looking out for you.I traveled to Tanzania two years ago, completely alone, and not really knowing anyone in the country. Yet over a span of a few months, the people in Tanzania became my family and to this day, I still consider them my family.I joined up with a travel group last year in April where most of them came from the UK and now some of them are now my closest friends.
More often than not, friendship and kindness will come from those you never expected it from and it WILL amaze you …if you take the time to reflect. Sometimes they will simply enter your life and leave – in a random act of kindness and sometimes they’ll stay to go on to be your friends. It reminds me of something that happened to me in Toronto at a bus stop. I was about two minutes early for my bus..so I inserted my debit card into the machine only to realize that machine was broken. So I ran over to the next machine ..almost tripping over myself and had that machine reject my card. I scavenged into my wallet for some change but didn’t have the $3.50 I needed..my bus had come in by now and looked like it was about to leave. I ran towards the first machine again hoping I had misread something or inserted my card wrong and then a random man came up to me before I inserted my card and asked if I needed a ticket because he had caught a ride with someone. I was speechless. I thanked him and somehow caught my bus. I don’t know if he saw me running around like a headless chicken or if it was just some awesome stroke of fate. I didn’t put too much thought into it but sat amazed for the entire day at how there is a force out there taking care of us.
I’ve been really blessed, to be honest. On Every trip I’ve made over the last two years ; I’ve made amazing friends who I believe could be life-long friends. People that you meet in different countries are , at the end of the day, people. When you do not have your friends or family close by ; you will, more often than not, find similar kindness in strangers who may then go on to become your friends.
Obviously, one needs to also keep ones wits about them and be alert when in a new country. It is really important to be cautious when traveling alone yet what I am trying to say is that there is goodness out there. There are people who will smile and be kind. I won’t deny that it a bit difficult being in a new place sometimes. Generally the first few nights are sometimes challenging as you are getting accustomed to a new place. But in good time: you will be amazed by the strength of your own human spirit ( it is not easy to throw yourself into the unknown); empathize with those who are in a similar situation ; have overcome one more fear; made new friends hopefully and you will be enriched by yet another life experience.
I am a believer in Karma so do some good and hopefully you will receive good. Be a friend and you will gain a friend.
Still a few more stories from Tanzania up my sleeve so making the most of a bit of wifi in the evenings :)..more like night..
There were two girls Mariam and Husna in Form 1 which is like grade 9 who were blind. I actually didn’t know about it till maybe a month in and was told by someone and so I went to scout it out. I felt kind of awkward just going to see them and I didn’t know them. And as I was about to enter the dorm I kind of sat on the steps because I felt a little overwhelmed just going in like that. And while I sat for like 5 minutes I saw a girl walk past me with a guiding stick held out and there it was – our paths crossed and so I went up and kind of followed her into the dorms not exactly sure what to say to her – Hi , I’m Saara…you don’t know me but..it didn’t make much sense so I followed her in and realized she was in the same room as Muna – one of the other kids I knew and so I went into their room and then I went to Mariam and told her I wanted to write a story about her – and this was for the school not for the blog 🙂 ..
I spoke to both her and Husna. Mariam had always been blind but Husna had sight and then when she was given some medication for malaria – slowly lost her eyesight. It’s devastating but they don’t see it like that at all. They are both so upbeat and happy and jolly.They’re actually in the top 15 of their class. How do 2 girls make it work at a disadvantaged school already? So apparently during class they just listen to the teacher and then after school at night one of their friends reads all of their notes back to them which they type up on their braille machine and then after everyone goes to sleep they can still study in the dark – cause they just need to feel their way through it .
Firstly, i found this amazing – that they did all this and ended up at the top of their class despite being blind but also the fact that a friend sits with them everyday and dictates all of her notes to them so that they can study. Later as I sat in the dorms with the girls Sabrina told me – ” You know Fadhya is such a good friend.” Now let me tell you about Fadhya – she seems like the most lazy girl ever. I actually met her when she told me she wanted to play sports and then I asked her if she needed help with any school work ( because it was prep and 9 o’clock at night) and she said she did and so I helped her. She sits at the back of the class and always laughs at me shyly when I ask her how school is . She’s confident and fun. So I asked Sabrina why she said that and she told me that Fadhya washes both of these girls clothes and irons them and is the one who dictates all the notes to these girls. Up till that point Fadhya was just like everyone else but at that moment my respect for her went sky high. What a friend man! Already these kids had no time between homework , studying, prayers, washing and ironing their own clothes and this kid had the time to do it for two other people! Ah – Friendship – how beautiful it is ..
Makes me think of my own friends who I wish were on this trip with me. I guess this is my attempt to bring them along with me. My friend who’s subscribed to my blog once told me pictures from the blog weren’t coming to his email and I was like ” what? You guys are my biggest supporters!” And he replied ” um…we’re not your supporters Saara, we’re your friends” 🙂
I’m glad you guys are “here.” I’m lucky with the growth of communication I even get good morning messages from all over the world. Dubai wakes up a couple of hours before me , the Philippines wakes up when I go to sleep, South Africa around my time and Canada – a bit past noon 🙂 I guess friendship is truly timeless!