Saying Yes

One of the most important “discoveries” of my journey so far is how good people are (or at least how good they attempt to appear). Every couch surfing host I’ve had or friend or family member I’ve stayed with has been quick to offer me something to help my journey. My friends from around the world have rallied to send me monetary support, a word of encouragement, or new songs for my journey. We seem to want to help people, or at least appear to want to help.

It makes me wonder how sincere people are, and if that even matters. I’ve decided to say yes to all offers of assistance. Whether that is a meal, a hug, or a couch to sleep on. I figured this can result in one of two things depending on the intent of the person I’m dealing with. If they are sincere I am allowing them to gift something to me, a concept familiar to all Burners and explained extremely well in Halcyon’s video on gifting. With my economics background it was a difficult concept for me to understand, I’m used to needing to exchange value for value but that sometimes removes the humanity from the interaction. Removing the humanity from an interaction can be a good thing for an impersonal economic interaction but on a journey like mine I am seeking personal interactions and allowing gifts is a big part of it. If I try to repay or exchange I am destroying the gift and the intent behind it.

If the person offering me assistance is doing so out of some social pressure and is insincere then I can only hope that they still get the joy out of helping another person. It is true that they may end up resenting me a little for accepting an offer of help that they offered out of some feeling of duty instead of sincerity. If that is the case I wish them well but they are not the type of person I am looking to interact with, luckily this type of person seems to be few and far between.

Related to this concept of saying yes to gifts is the ability to ask for something when you need it. I began thinking about this a lot after reading a FB post from my friend, Devon. I realized that we are often afraid to ask people for simple help when we may need it for fear of appearing weak, inconveniencing them, or fear of rejection. While many people can say no there is no harm in asking. I’ve found that when I ask for help people are generally willing to help, especially out here on the trail.

Instead of waiting to find a city or business to purchase something from when I need water or rest I am trying to ask more people. It is easy to go to a business to purchase something and ask for help, we are used to this interaction and expect employees to be used to strangers approaching them. It is much more difficult to walk to a woman watering her garden or knock on a farmer’s door to ask to refill your water bottles or rest under a tree for a bit, but I’ve yet to be turned down when I ask. The time is quickly approaching where cities are more than a day apart and I may need to ask a farmer to set up a tent on their land, I may face many rejections but I’m willing to bet that one yes is well worth it.

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