These were the words of an Aussie I met in Bolivia. The more I have travelled, the more I agree.
Before I began this voyage of mine, I was a perpetual people pleaser. Perhaps it was the fact that I come from a small town with a limited population, or maybe it was simply my weakness of mind, but if someone didn’t like me, I would make it my sole mission to make them warm to me.
I would remain loyal to friends who stood me up, send thoughtful messages to men who never so much as messaged me, and remain resolutely polite to those who would slight me.
How much time I have wasted over the years trying to appease people who essentially either didn’t like me or made my existence miserable, I can’t count. And how sad and depressed accepting this level of negativity made me, I can’t tell you.
But travelling enlightens you to the simple fact that you need not waste your time with that hardship (for being starved of good human company and basic kindness and courtesy is a kind of hardship). You meet too many good and kind people to believe such a falsity:
Like the Peruvian lady, her newborn baby wrapped about her chest, who insisted on walking three blocks in Cusco to show me where to catch a bus, and who stood waiting beside me for fifteen minutes until it arrived. She didn’t speak a word of English and I could barely utter a syllable of Spanish, and yet she ignored the awkwardness and helped me anyway.
Or the boy I met in Arequipa who showed me round his town, and whose mother welcomed me into her home and gave me food without a second thought…
The man who let me tag along with him and his friend when the taxi driver couldn’t find my hostel in Bolivia…
The individuals who hosted me in their homes across America…
Or the New York writer that I met in San Francisco for a quiet hour or two in a bar…he spoke of his children with pride and of his job with nostalgic optimism. I had had a bad day, and this random meeting made the whole mess suddenly irrelevant and the day wonderful.
This isn’t even listing the friends I have made in every country I have visited.
And after all of this, I am not sure why I would waste my labours on those who are unreceptive to my attention and/or slight my personality. Why bestow my heart on those who simply forget my presence and fail to contact me, or plainly treat me badly?
There are so many beautiul people in this world, and time is precious…don’t waste a moment on those who don’t add anything positive to your life. You can pass them by and move on from the bitterness and find those who restore your faith in the world…you just have to have the patience to find them, and know when to quit on those who are not treating you how you deserve to be treated.