When you set out into the world, there’s a certain amount of faith, or trust, required.
Even with all the planning and research one can do, it’s very likely you’ll need to rely on the kindness of strangers.
It could be a couch to crash on.
It could be a ride to get you down the highway.
It could be ending up in a new city, with no place to stay (yet) and no idea of where you’ll go or what you’ll do.
You just need to trust that it’s all going to be fine. Will you absolutely know 100% that it will work out? No – but how many things in life come with that kind of guarantee. It’s just the way the world works.
This faith goes both ways. As much as you’re hoping your hosts, your ride, or your new city is going to be cool, that’s exactly what they are thinking about YOU, too.
Want to housesit? While this can be an amazing situation, there’s quite a bit of trust for the homeowners in just leaving and hoping that it will all be OK.
Each person is hoping that the other is going to be cool.
It’s like this little dance both sides engage in – where you both have to jump into this unknown, unclear, uncertain situation (a “leap of faith,” if you will) and just trust that everything is going to work out.
For travelers (and their families), the big-ticket item for faith is probably hitchhiking or ridesharing (the Craigslist/online version of the former).
Because of the US news at least, we’re to believe that asking a stranger for a ride is perhaps the most dangerous thing you could ever do. Because of the media and movies, we can have visions of a kind driver suddenly brandishing their machete and hacking us to bits as soon as we’re in the car.
I’m not saying that won‘t happen, but what’s the likelihood it will? In fact, check out the leading causes of death from the CDC – hitching is nowhere to be found!
Hitchhiking is legal in several US states and around most of the world. According to Wikipedia, there are only three places where it’s totally illegal: Hong Kong, Singapore, and China (though apparently, no one cares about the law there).
I think to most people, hitchhiking is no big deal, and it’s how many travelers around the globe get around. Heck, when you’re a young backpacker, it’s almost expected! When I’ve been in Hawaii, where it is legal, it’s a perfectly acceptable mode of travel, and often people are very happy to offer rides.
Of course you always want to be safe: check out the Hitchwiki for great safety tips, among other info.
There’s an even higher level of faith, too.
It can be easy to become anxious as night falls, or the day gets later, and you still are no closer to solving your basic need. That’s when we need to trust that the right couch/ride/person will show up.
I’ve often found myself depending on others, hoping that something will come through, that someone will message me back or call. All you can do in those situations is trust that it will happen as it is meant to be, which may mean not doing what you expected!
For me, travel is almost spontaneous: if I get an idea that sounds really cool and is possible, then my energy goes immediately toward that. I’ve driven eight hours just to see a movie, I’ve gone on a 3200 mile road trip, and I randomly stopped in San Jose for a couple days because I realized I knew someone there!
So I ride that wave of “let’s DO this!” energy, which immediately creates certain expectations in my head – and then it takes conscious work to not become disappointed if, for whatever reason, things don’t go according to plan.
Is it always awesome? Nope. Does it ever get challenging? Sure.
But in my experience, if I show up positive and with that faith, more often than not, things works out great. People are generally decent, and will usually honor what they say, unless you’ve given them a strong reason not to.
You always want to be safe and smart – look for ways for both sides to have a pleasant experience – put yourself in the other’s shoes: what would you want out of the experience?
You don’t even have to be a traveler to know about this faith: if you’ve ever been at a Starbucks working and want to run to the bathroom, you either have the choice of packing up everything only to unpack it all again, or to trust someone there to just keep an eye on your things (often your very valuable laptop).
If you ever find yourself in need of someone’s assistance…
- Be positive
- Be respectful
- Be friendly
- Use common sense
- Look for ways to be helpful
- HAVE FAITH
It’s been almost 25 years since we first heard about this “faith, faith, faith,” and it’s as true today as it was in 1987. Thanks George!
How about you – have you ever found yourself in need of faith when traveling?
I’d love to hear your answer + any other comments you have below.
Until next time,
PS – affiliate link above: if you click on the link and purchase, a few pennies drop into the NA pecan fund. Those nuts are oh so good and oh so expensive… thanks!