Friday, January 2, 2015

Finding Good People

A man has traveled to 201 countries all without the use of planes and with an average budget of less than $100 a week.  Graham Hughes told Mike Pflanz of the Christian Science Monitor that:
I wanted to see if it could be done... I think I also wanted to show that the world is not some big, scary place, but in fact is full of people who want to help you even if you are a stranger.
He is not the first to travel accepting that people are good and helpful and expecting things to work out well.  There have been a number of these stories over the years.  Each  of these travelers began by thinking the world is filled with good people.  They haven't feared cultural differences.  They haven't let the media's perception of a world going to hell scare them from their deeply held belief that we are all people and most people are generous and kind.
If we look at the media's representation of the world, it is easy to convince ourselves that people have changed, and today we have to look out for our own interests.  We can even find ourselves thinking it is better not to get involved or lend a hand because people are out to use us and get what they can. 
When I travelled in a RV I found people full of wonderful stories, warm hearted, and ready to help.  My perception of people was of course warped by my expectations-- that people were warm hearted,  ready to help, and full of interesting stories!  As the years have gone by and I have not been traveling as much, I found my perceptions began to warp as I met people who seemed to want to use me. The more I became jaded, the more I found people that were users. But if I look back over this time period, there were plenty of others who were kind and generous, who shared my desire to be helpful and who were appreciative of the help I gave.  In fact, some of the "users" also had the desire to be helpful, as well. 
When I moved to NYC I recall a friend who had lived there years before remarking on how cold the people were there.  But when I moved there, I was so happy and so excited to be living in NYC that I was always smiling and saying, "hello," and I found most people were very friendly in return.  My recollection of my years there is one of friendly, wonderful people.  
What seems evident is that generally what one seeks and expresses one finds more often than not.  There are some people who feel they have to use and be abusive to survive and some feel being closed and rude keeps them safe.  But if one goes out expecting to find good people, one usually finds them- in all of the nearly 200 countries of the world.

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