Risk vs Reward. That’s often how we make decisions. But sometimes we don’t even consider the risk – we never think “there’s an x% chance I could die in a car accident” when we start the engine – just that we need to get from A to B. Sometimes we overestimate the risk – we hear of a Malaysian Airlines plane going missing and suddenly we think all MAS flights are dangerous. So is this similar to some people being afraid of meeting strangers from social apps for fear of being attacked or conned?
Granted not all experiences are positive, but when you go from “hey, what’re you up to today? Let’s meet up” to hanging out for the whole day, chatting, getting along and keeping in touch, what better way to make friends (usually locals) whilst getting the inside goss on what’s good in town?
As a lone traveler staying in hostels, everyone you meet there is a traveler just like you. Don’t get me wrong, meeting other travelers is great. They have different perspectives on life and even the place you’re in and they can give you tips for their home country/city. But if they were the only people I met? What a vastly different experience I would have had.
When you do things with other travelers, you usually go to the “touristy” spots – Pier 39 (barf), the Space Needle, Museums…
But when you meet locals, they might take you to a local cheap taco joint in an unassuming building up a flight of stairs. Or they might drive you to a lookout that would otherwise be quite difficult to get to. Or they might suggest a good ramen joint in the city.
I know there are dangers. You are meeting a stranger after all. They could rape and rob you. And maybe it’s different because I’m male. But through a bit of initial chatting and sussing them out when you first meet them, you can usually get a decent idea of how things will go. And you can always part ways at any time – no obligation!
So for me, the risk is worth it. Despite what could happen, people overall aren’t out to get you. “Social” apps have changed the way I travel, so I’m glad I’ve put myself out there. Sorry mum.
This is a post I’ve been putting off for a while. Mainly because I know my parents read this blog. But it’s all part of the experience and is something I recommend to people.
And props to all the amazing friends I’ve made along the way. Thanks for being incredibly cool, kind and generous. For taking me places, buying me meals and drinks, and having me over.