To the many Friendly Locals

To the smiling man who asked what I was looking for, what I needed; to the chatty woman who asked how my day was, where I’m from; to the many friendly locals whose path I crossed… I am sorry.

Sorry I did not pause and listen. Sorry I did not truly engage and only provided evasive responses. Sorry I disregarded you before truly knowing your intentions.

I saw you but might have looked away instead. I saw you but might have walked straight by. If I smiled back and said hello, I might have dismissively done so. And therefore I owe you an apology.

For I have come to realize that I am a wary traveller. And this might seem good but sometimes is bad. I did not intend to appear uninterested. I did not intend to ignore your kindness. I simply wondered, unconsciously, about your hidden agenda. Suspiciously questioned the true meaning of your conversation. And possibly wrongly assumed you only cared for my business.

But, I know… you might have just wanted to meet me. Greet me. And welcome me to your part of the world. You might have just wanted to know about my travels. Or my day. Or my life back home. Genuinely. Kindly. In the very same way I wish everyone would speak to one another. You demonstrated openness and I shut it down, fearfully.

So I am sorry. I will try, harder. To look everyone in the eye when speaking. To truly listen before answering. And to return all the lovely smiles. Whether you want to help, to chat, or to offer your services.