One of my old teachers once said that the only way to continue learning once you have finished education is to travel. Up until this year I supposed that meant what you learn whilst you’re abroad is how you further your knowledge: the museums you visit; the sights you see; the language that you speak (I now have a broad understanding of Italian foods) but I have come to realise it is completely different.
It is the people you meet who give you a greater knowledge of life beyond the learning that is done infront of the desk because, and I suppose it differs for everyone, the people you meet on holiday are always different. After a brief encounter, you may not even know their name, one can leave knowing about their job, marriage, past life, what they’ve seen and their own view on the social and political qualms of the world. Who are you talking to? It could be a woman who studied at Cambridge, landed a high powered job and has now decided to journey to Italy for a long weekend in order to have a break before returning to the continuous push and pull of city life. I exaggerate somewhat but indeed you could learn a lot from her. Or was it a Belguim mother and daughter who mate you realise how utterly inept you are at spoken French (despite most likely taking it at A-level). Did you know that most people in Belgium speak French instead of Flemish? Well I found that out on this trip to Italy.
You may be thinking: Eleanor this isn’t your typical holiday post? After a string of ‘A Postcard from‘ travel posts by which I informed you of the ins and out and philosophical opinions of the places that I visited I realised they were probably viewed mostly for the photos. Aside from the odd tip about the destination in question, I uploaded them hugely for my own viewing pleasure in the future – a digital scrapbook of photos that survived the cut of the thousands of photos I actually did take. Upon the changes to the posts that I write, eg. my ethical posts that are now in abundance yet were once few and far between I felt that my travel posts needed a little more substance. I love posting my photos but I have a lot more to say about these trips than just about what I’ve seen.
See this as a story time with some self help tips from yours truly alongside *shock* some photos from my trip to Italy (I am planning on uploading a post with film photos as well at a later date). I want my posts to help you as much as they help me and that is why I am discussing the power of strangers.
It was on the last few days of our holiday, waiting for a bus to Pompeii, that we met the nicest couple that were on their honeymoon. Both in their early thirties, they’d been a couple since the woman was 19 and in fact he was her first boyfriend – my heart just melted there and then to be honest. They were going to Herculaneum so we parted ways but saw each other after breakfast the next day; our last day. After helping my mum clean her shoe (honestly you can’t make these things up, there was a shoe cleaner on the first floor – my teacher was definitely right about learning things whilst travelling) the couple wished us the best of luck with our journey home if they didn’t see us that evening.
You could probably predict that we would see them that evening. They sat behind us and when we were leaving they asked if we wanted to have drinks. Naturally, we accepted the offer and the man (called Dom) said some of the nicest things possibly anyone has said to me in a while. Over dinner I was stressing to my mum about results day this Thursday because I am so worried about it and I did not expect to be this bloody nervous but I think I have got it in my head that I’m basically going to fail every subject :))) Despite this, Dom said that I looked like a hard worker (I mean he’s right considering I basically locked myself in a room for two months when exam season came round) but there’s something different about it coming from a stranger. We all spent the night talking about their wedding, various topics including jury service and as we left to say goodbye to them they said that ‘today is the first day of your life’. A slightly cheesy quote said by Charles Deidrich but one that rings incredibly true. He continued by saying the results that I get this week, regardless of whether I’m happy with them or not will not change the course of my life that much – that I have the power to do whatever I want and that I seemed determined enough to do so.
There’s something about a stranger telling you that life is going to be okay, that I will be okay that is incredibly reassuring. When thinking of what to post about my travels it made me think that most of you reading this are strangers. I wouldn’t consider you strangers but you are. I’ve gotten some incredible comments about my blog from some of you reading it lately and it made me realise that I am a stranger to you that has the power (if you listen to what I say) to change an aspect about your life. Whether it be ethical fashion, or the way you feel about yourself, a little self help tip to stop stress or something that you didn’t realise you needed help with. I’m a stranger but I hope you would listen and take what I say in when I mean that every single one of you reading this post or indeed the other posts on my blog have a huge part to play in the rest of your life and you, yes you are one of the most beautiful people on the planet.
Whether you are reading this with buckets of confidence, or none at all, just think that there is another stranger on the other side of the country or in another country that feels the exact same way or needs some reassurance. I want you guys to realise that yes I do think that strangers have a huge power in how we see ourselves as people. That man on his honeymoon didn’t have to say those things but he did and of all the people that have told me that my exam results are going to be fine it was his words that I have listened to the most. He didn’t know me but he had faith and I have faith in you. He taught me more than I would learn from any museum and that is to believe in myself.
You are worth so much more than you think you are and don’t forget it. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Are there any strangers that have influenced you or helped you in some way? I think there is something to be said about the people that you meet on holiday and the influence they have but it definitely made me realise about the influence of strangers online, in particular blogging and youtube – you feel like they’re you’re friends but they are still strangers and yet the impact they can have on your daily life can be immense. I’d be interested to know your thoughts.
Today is the first day of the rest of your life, so make it count.
lots of love, eleanor xx