When did I first started traveling? Probably I was 16 or 17. And since then I slept in many hostels and other accommodations (for example couchsurfing).
Of course times are changing and the technology with them. Truth to be told it is much easier for me to navigate with Google Maps than it was with Lonely Planet in Iran a few years ago. It is much easier to learn a new language, communicate, send photos … But lately I have been noticing a lot of minuses that technology brought too.
Common rooms in hostels were always the hotspot of happening. Places where friendships would happen before you would even know - there was no screen to look at. The connections were done very simplistically and without any extra effort. Even when I was traveling by myself I usually got some company without a problem. Either the conversation started on the bus or when you were waiting for the Vietnamese spring rolls.
Lately I have started noticing individualism (Hello, I am also guilty. I am that person with headphones on somewhere in the corner of the hostel with a laptop on the table.). We travel to experience new things but at the same time we are completely stuck into having conversations with people at home.
Gone are the days when you sent “Mom! I am alive!” emails from shitty internet cafes. Everything is happening faster. Hitting on people was replaced by Tinder, sharing adventures by Instagram and so on. You get the point.
In the last hostel I slept in dorms and on the bed next to me I saw a guy swiping the Tinder. Why didn’t he just approach Klavdija or me or any of the other pretty girls in the hostel?
And I - as someone who has a slight fear of doing the first step. Because you might seem weird to someone or whatever the ego makes up in that moment. Well I decided to start a tiny revolution. Of course my own personal revolution. Tiny war, tiny attack, tiny action.
First things first I started greeting ALL the people in hostels and similar situations. Because I noticed we don’t even do that anymore - because our eyes are looking either at the floor or at the screen.
And it’s not a small mouse-like hi. It is a middle strength confident Slovenian HELLO!
Ok, and when the first step became easy for me I decided to take it a bit further.
»Hey, is this sit taken, may I sit next to you? Where are you from?« when I come to the breakfast in the hostel.
»Hello guys, where are you from?« to a group of young people in the bar.
»Salud!« to Mexican girls dancing next to you.
»De dónde salen los autobuses al centro?« to the man on the street. A question that results in him sharing stories from his life with me.
»Do you guys want to go for a beer?« to strangers you have just met half an hour ago.
Absolutely terrifying for me. But absolutely necessary. Absolutely very important for me to step out of the bubble of individualism that grasps you before you even know what is going on.
Why do I travel? To connect with souls. And that will not happen looking at the screen. Or as Klavdija said: “Why can’t we just be like kids and start a conversations with anyone anywhere?”