“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none” – William Shakespeare
Should trust be acquired over time or granted like a welcome gift? If someone misuses, abuses or ignores our trust, should we give them a second or even a third chance? How do you even know when you can trust something or someone?
I travelled through South East Asia placing a lot of trust in the people I met: jumping on the back of a motorbike, entrusting a hotel attendant with my valuables, going on a little boat that sounded like it was going to sink at any moment… The reason why I felt so confident in every situation was the people – genuine, authentic, friendly and caring.
I made my way across to a whole different world about a week ago: Sri Lanka. Reading my trusty advisor, Lonely Planet, on the plane here, I was warned that Sri Lankan men often stare at foreign women and can at times be inappropriate with their thoughts, words or actions. I wasn’t in the country yet that the Sri Lankan man sitting next to me on the plane asked me as his third question if I were married. So I thought I should follow Lonely Planet’s advice and always answer ‘yes’ to that question for as long as I’d be in this country, as well as switching my ring to my left hand…
Now, I’ve had my share of staring in the past week, but I’ve also met absolutely gorgeous people, including men, who have been very helpful and genuinely friendly. But Lonely Planet’s warning, my plane experience and those few comments and looks from some locals have reinforced my distrust towards local men. Am I putting every Sri Lankan man in the same basket? I hope not, but I now travel with a level of skepticism I felt I didn’t need to have in South East Asia… and I don’t like it! I’m one who likes to trust people from the get go and give them a second chance if they fail the first time around.
I realise my post sounds totally negative towards this absolutely stunning country that is Sri Lanka, but don’t be fooled, I still love this place, its people, landscapes, culture, food (rice and curry, yum!) and all. I’m simply challenged by a totally different culture – and very happy to be! – and questioning a characteristic I had taken for granted: my innate trust in people.