You are known by the friends you make in life. I am bewildered when my fellow tourist and travelers forget this while traveling abroad. In seconds, because of the friends you make, the locals know whether you are smart or stupid. You will be weighed and measured, and then in the worst-case scenario, they have decided, we can rob this person, let us do it tonight.
Three men in Cite Soleil, Haiti, I shook hands with one of them, which one and why?
Mirebalais, Haiti --- Tuesday, January 5, 2010
By Andy Graham of HoboTraveler.com Travel Gear
What are the people saying about you?
What is the gossip, I know they are talking I am positive. You are a stranger, you are a foreigner, they are curious, it is natural they would talk.
What story is told by walking around a village with a local?
1. I need help.
2. I need a translator.
3. I am lost.
4. I want help.
5. I want to talk with the locals.
6. I know how to choose friends.
7. Why I am in the village.
8. I have friends in the village.
9. I am following a person; I am not leading a person.
10. I cannot judge people, or I can judge people.
11. Whether I am smart or dumb.
12. I just arrived.
13. I have been in the village a long time and have friends.
14. I am alone.
15. I am married or single.
…. Every move I make, tells the story of me…
The opinion the people of the village have of your new friend is now transferred to you.
A traveler needs a strategy when walking and talking with locals. I choose friends carefully, I know that one wrong decision, and my wonderful trip in Haiti could turn into a disaster. When I get off the bus, I know I will make instant people decisions, which taxi driver is good, who can I trust, who is dangerous. I make incredibly strict and harsh judgments, then I live or die by them judgments, there is no second chance.
Many a traveler thinks he or she is an expert traveler. Yes, I suppose an expert travel knows a lot about travel gear, but in my opinion, an expert traveler knows a lot about people.
Yesterday, a rather tall and menacing person started following me down the road. I stepped to the side, allow him to pass, I then turned and started follow him, up close and personal.
I am trying to instruct you in situational awareness, posturing and the ability to make good snap judgments about people. I hope you do not need to be robbed, raped, or murdered to learn this is the priority, not your gear.
Welcome to Haiti.
Andy Graham of HoboTraveler.com in Haiti, in my 10-dollar room.
In the photo above, I first shook hand with the man on the right, introduced myself. However, I then shook hands with the man in the middle, then lastly the man on the left.