I had a conversation with a participant of Fortune Brainstorm Conference about his recent visit to Asia, namely, Thailand, and China. He was filled with exaggerated excitement about the places he just visited. “I was overwhelmed by how friendly people are. Hey man, you just cannot imagine how friendly they are”.
Hmm Is it true that travelers feel people are friendlier in foreign countries?
For me, for example, I genuinely feel people in the States are very friendly, and people in Sanya, Lijiang, or Daocheng are friendly to me. According to my personal experience, the statement seems to positive. There are for sure cases when people get extremely frustrated during the trip or mistreated, generally, people tend to agree that they love the people they meet when they are traveling. Why is that? How so?
Is it because that, when we are traveling, we are a nicer person ourselves? We live more in the present, instead of captured by the tendency to ignore people, and things around us. I cannot imagine smiling to everyone in a crowded metro cart, and I even cannot imagine smiling every time I see Wendy. However, when we are traveling, our heart is so open that we would rather be nicer to people around us, just for the sake of a better travel experience for ourselves. In return, most of the people will find travelers are often easier to handle.
Is it because the type of people we meet? When we travel, most of the people we meet are in the travel industry. Hotels, buses, taxis, gatekeeper of tourism places Their professions are to be friendly, and make it a good experience for their customers – the travelers. I would say, they are in a happy industry themselves, with daily chance to meet with nice travelers (as I described in my previous guess). Altogether, that is a different world from our current daily routine.
Is it because the time? Time plays a role in people’s mood. I basically enjoyed every trip I had in the bay area, until one day, I was caught in a trafic jam. I was driven made by the slow moving of cars on CA-237 to Miltipas, CA. Then I felt people are not nice. I feel the anxiourity of the drivers around me. It was then that I realized my experience of the area is always in the non-rush hours. Travelers are different annimals. They don’t follow the 9 to 6 rymth of the city. When everyone is rushing into the downtown with barely cleaned face, and being hungry because they didn’t have the time to have breakfast yet, the travelers, in the contrary, is already well fed with nice continental breakfast (think about the berries, and omlette!), and on a nice coach to a place 50 miles away from the city. That makes huge difference to how people feel about the city, and the people.
There are many reasons that travelers feel people around them are friendlier, and I guess that is one of the reasons why people travel – to explore something new, and better than our current lives.