On the road, vulnerability can be a way of keeping safe

“There was another message, too: Once again, the more I gave myself to the world, the more I made myself vulnerable by putting myself completely at the disposal of people and situations in which I had no control, the more people took care of me, looked out for me. At first I had thought they were taking pity on me. But as my journey unfolded, I started to understand something else, something that had been sinking in gradually over the months. Being a white American conferred on me an automatic status. I represented power. Affluence. …And if I could shed my American reserves, phobias, disgusts, they would embrace me. In the weeks ahead I would do whatever my fellow travelers and hosts did. If they drank the tap water of Mumbai and Kolkata and Bangladesh, so would I. If they bought tea from street corner vendors, so would I. If they ate with their fingers, even if I was given utensils, I ate with my fingers. Doing so prompted an outpouring of generosity and curiosity that never ceased to amaze me; it opened the door, made people take me in. That I shared their food, their discomfort, their danger, fascinated and validated them in a powerful way.”
–Carl Hoffman, The Lunatic Express (2010)

Posted by | Comments Off on On the road, vulnerability can be a way of keeping safe  | August 27, 2012
Category: Travel Quote of the Day

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