Asking for help is an Art

#day48 #tiruvnamallai #help #artofasking #universe #gratitude

This morning I woke up with a message from a student of MBA(Toursim), Pondicherry Central University where I was invited as a guest speaker to share my journey and views on solo travelling. The message was about appreciating one of my view – how it left a mark – the view “Asking for help is an Art”.

I had thought about writing regarding this in detail, but amidst all these trips, planning where to travel and where to stay, to cover which places and all, it somehow skipped my mind. This morning when I saw this message, I decided it’s about time. So I sat in my balcony, overlooking the Arunachala Hill and feeling grateful to the Universe, started scribbling down.

Till the age of 27, I was not good at asking about anything. To anyone. Be it my parents or anyone in the world. In fact, when I was dating, I always wanted to pay for the dates or atleast share the expenditure. In my relationships, I had always been the one spending. In fact, if the other partner wanted to do it, I felt uncomfortable. Maybe I was too control freak. I didn’t want anyone to ever claim that they had spent on me. When I was growing up, I wanted a lot of things. Coming from a middle working class family, then essentials were always taken care of – in fact, in a much better way because we do got to travel throughout India too with parents during our summer vacations. But when it came to buying things which is for your own consumption, and a “want”, I was very reserved. The same way I grew up. I couldn’t ask – so this habit of “not asking” came down to not ask, not only for the material things, but emotional too. I couldn’t ask for emotional support too, when I needed. When I was heart broken, I knew I had to pick up the pieces on my own. There was too much hurt, and I couldn’t share it. One, I didn’t know how to. Two, what stopped me always was – “what the other person would be thinking?” Because of this, I could never open up. One incident happened, and then i was open to receiving too. I got signs from the universe that it’s not only giving, but I have to be open to receive too. That’s how we get most of our gifts. We need to open for them.

Now you must be thinking how is this related to travelling. Let me just link the art of asking for help with travelling. When we are travelling, especially solo, doesn’t matter how equipped we are, we do end up needing some sort of help. Nothing big or small. Just help. Through this only, we also get an opportunity to get connected to other people too – especially the locals. Otherwise, we could be sitting in our car and going around the world, but without interacting with others that journey would never be complete.

If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” – James Michener

Let me just list down a few situations where we might be put into a position of asking for help –

1. Asking for help in directions

That’s one help that is much required when we are travelling, especially driving. This is the most integral part of visiting new places. Doesn’t matter how much the technology may make us believe that it’s there to show us the way, we do loose connections/ no connection zone. Then, who’s gonna come for rescue? Yes. Right. The locals. In fact asking for directions from people is more sociable too. When we loose network connections and are lost, we do loose this false sense of having everything under control too. So when we ask for help for directions, we are head on facing the issue of being lost too. So, wait for a while and look around. Observe your surroundings, grasp the situation, engage with people and society around then only. This is more like an act of trusting. People, especially strangers, usually don’t break your trust and live up to your expectations.

This act of helping the other also makes one feel good. So just by asking for directions, we also can learn new things – like the way people respond, their behaviour, the way they tell directions, etc. For e.g., in one state you will find people telling you directions like “take left or right”, etc. And then there are times when people will say “Go north or south or north east for 30kms” and so on. So yeah, we do learn that too! So when travelling to a different land, remember to learn a few lines of help in the respective language. If you are travelling in India, where English is second language, do not try to be grammatically correct. People might actually not understand what you are trying to say. It’s better to use टूटी फूटी English.

Another way of asking for help while travelling is asking for advice from people who have already travelled to that particular place. It can be in the form of travel experiences, places to visit/stay/eat. You can also read travel blogs – that’s another way of seeking help. Also by asking for destination advice, there’s a very high probability that you might end up at some place not known to many. I ended up visiting an old friend’s home in Sivakasi, when I asked for some suggestions on places to visit. Sivakasi was never in my itinerary but I ended up being there. Ask people for advice, and share their stories.

Travelling solo is an amazing experience, but at time when the days are more you do feel like having a company. This is when sharing experiences and stories becomes a beautiful experience. Being friendly and open is a simple way of connecting with people.

While travelling, it is important to keep everything balanced. Being independent, and yet knowing when to ask for help is the skill that one needs with time and travelling.

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