Somewhere along the way I lost hope in humanity.
We are always warned about talking to strangers, to keep our personnel items close and to watch out for pickpocketers, especially in big cities. The media is full of stories about bad things happening to people the majority of these bad things are caused by other human beings; murders, burglaries, stealing the list goes on and on. The media thrives off these types of stories, stand out headlines to make us go ‘oh my god, how can someone do that’. Have you ever noticed the media rarely publishes stories of achievements or positive ideas?! I have and that’s the reason I decided to write about travelling and inspiration. Stories which make people think what if, I could do that or give them hope, instead of the usual sad or ashtonished feeling.
I spent 20 years of my childhood and early adolescence living in the Norfolk countryside, I had no neighbours, just fields surrounded my house, the usual newspaper headlines read something along the lines of; ‘man loses wallet, then finds it at home’ or ‘pig escapes from farm’ you get the picture. Things rarely happened in deep North Norfolk. In return this made me nieve to the rest of the country or the world, in Norfolk it was normal for people not to lock their cars in their yards and children to run around the village playing with their friends. 20 years of my life I didn’t feel unsafe walking around towns or cities, I would carry my wallet or phone in my hand, to me people were all the same as the little old women who lived in the local town and said hello to me every time I walked past.
I had always travelled and visited big cities in other countries, where I was fully aware everything was different from home, I would keep my whits about me and keep my belongings hidden. But where did this unsafe feeling come from, why did I not do this at home? I guess it comes down to the unknown, being in a place where you don’t know who is around you, what people are like and the medias frightening image that everyone is going to steal from you at any moment. North Norfolk is a unique piece of paradise in a big dark world, community feelings are rare in this day and age. Most people go around not knowing their neighbours, not bothering to say hello when someone you recognise walks past and this has become the norm. It’s strange if someone says hi to you on the street.
Then I moved to Bogota, Colombia and everything changed, it was completely different. Bogota is a city of between 8 and 12 million depending on whose counting, I arrived expecting it to be like London, but I was taken back. In London everyone ignores everyone in fact walking around the city, if someone smiled at someone they would think what do they want. Bogota has it’s unsafe parts and there are places where I wouldn’t show off that I had an iPhone but no matter where you are in Bogota, random people smile at you, say ‘hola’ and as the title mentions hold their hands out to help people.
London and the world should take note of Colombia, a country riddeled with a history of war, drugs and violence and yet it’s people would help a stranger on the street. Maybe violence brings people together and gives them hope, who knows. One things for sure the man who held his hand out to help me de finely made me smile, happy and rekindled my belief that the world can be full of good people.