In this world when even your closest friend can turn out to be someone you don’t know at all, your partner for many years can be hiding secrets from you, or when you could lose your life or belongings in an instant, it is very hard to trust. I’ve long had issues in this area. I have a rather very fragile idea of trust: I will only give it once, but when it is broken, there’s no way in hell I am granting my trust again.
This year, however, I finally found the courage to travel solo and I couldn’t believe that this lone trip will be instrumental in helping me regain that childhood trait adulthood stole from me. Wow it was just months ago that I was dreaming of traveling solo and then look at me now!
Listed below are the instances that showed how I totally gave off my trust to complete strangers, and thus, my trip was an absolute #FaithInHumanityRestored tale.
1. I stayed in the houses of people I barely know
I was actually working on a very low budget on my solo trip so I decided to try Couchsurfing for the first time. I don’t know how I did it. I just trusted that my host wouldn’t do anything bad at me: that I would wake up alive and with complete limbs the next morning, and that the breakfast she prepared for me don’t have anything poisonous on it. And you know what? I was right to give my trust. I’ve found myself a new friend because of this trip.
Also, there was a time when I spent a night away from my host’s home. Of course, I had no pre-booked accommodation. I was in an island where the resorts were all fully booked. I then walked to what I feel was a street full of transient houses. After a couple of minutes, I noticed a man following me.
I looked at him and then he asked me: “Are you looking for a place to stay?”
I said, “Yes”
He was soon accompanied by his wife. They brought me to a two-story house and told the owner that I am looking for a room. After bargaining for the rate, I got myself an air-conditioned room for PHP 400. Even if I noticed that the bedroom door’s lock is broken, I slept through the night. Well, if anything wrong happens, at least I had a full beauty rest, right?
2. I tried Habal-Habal
“Habal-habal” is a form of transportation used in the provinces, it is also known as motorcycle taxi. The passenger/s would sit at the back of the driver, with no form of security equipment whatsoever. It is actually a very cheap and adventurous form of transportation. It doesn’t have a very good connotation as obviously, the driver can just take you anywhere and you have zero power over it. Unless, of course, if you jump off the motorcycle where you can sustain some injuries.
I rented a habal-habal on my way to and from Hagimit Falls, Samal Island in Davao. It was the only mode of public transportation available. The accumulated ride lasted for about two hours and I did not even feel any fear. I just placed a strong hand on the driver’s shoulders and hoped for safety. Again, I earned an instant friend through Melbar, the Habal-habal driver. So the next time I will be in Davao, I know who to call.
3. I held hands with strangers
As I was trying to pose for photographs in Hagimit Falls, I slipped on a tree branch and fell straight to the water. I am no swimmer so I slightly feared for my life. Luckily, someone pulled me from the water towards a safe area. It was James, a lifeguard/tour guide. He then brought me to the other attractions, asked me to jump off on one of the waterfalls, and directed me to the best places to pose for photographs.
At Hagimit Falls, everything was so slippery. I held hands with James, Melbar (Habal-habal driver), and other people around who were kind enough to offer help. It was definitely a humbling experience.
4. I rode a boat as a lone passenger
When you travel alone, you will be given the freedom to change whatever itinerary you originally have or ditch someone or something just because you are so spontaneous. And that is exactly what I did. I was spending some fantastic moment on a gorgeous beach, but I needed to ride a ferry back to the town proper by 3PM, because it is the last ferry schedule for the day. And, I just arrived in the island at 10AM. I was like, “What? No one can dictate me on how long I can stay here!”
So I ditched that ferry and decided to ride a small boat going to another island. This small boat had operators who were already on their way home and they just let me hitch: me, a lone traveler in my swimsuit. The sail was short, about 20 minutes I think, and I got off the boat safe and sound. What’s more, I only paid PHP 30 for my “Uber boat”. LOL
5. I asked strangers to take my photos
I own a D3000 Nikon camera. And even if it isn’t the best camera in the world, I love it and consider it as one of my biggest investments. Since I am traveling solo, I had to ask people to take my photos and just kept the faith that they wouldn’t drop my camera in the water or worse, push the wrong buttons and delete all the photos. Thank God nothing like that happened!
Sharing here some of the amazing photos I took home because I entrusted my camera’s use to complete strangers:
These decisions are ones that I wouldn’t be caught dead doing if I am my usual self: if I have friends and families who are just one text away from rescuing me. But since I am in a faraway land, I was completely at the mercy of strangers and it made me realize that asking for help isn’t that bad at all! For sure, there will be more solo trips to come for me in the future.