“People are welcoming to you because you are welcoming to them.”
People have always been the point for me, but sometimes wanting to simply say hi can pull me into my shell of doubt – of not feeling interesting, of just being another person, of blending in with my surroundings. Sometimes its an internal spiral that I spin and spin and spin around, leading me to saying nothing at all.
But other times I remember that simply saying hi is inviting, welcoming, that it’s a way of saying “We are both here. I see you.” and that we rarely do this anymore.
When was the last time a stranger came up to you and said hi? Not the casual “hey” from a passerby, not a text message or Facebook message or an Instagram DM or iMessage – but a true and genuine, face to face, unexpected “hi.” A sound that takes a mere second to create, but that opens the doors to millions of seconds of more – that takes you out of your head, guides you into your heart and gives you the time and space to see what their heart is full of, too.
This week I left Auckland, hopped on a bus to a town I knew nothing about, and waited for a friend I only knew through social media to pick me up. A night passed and I waited for my best friend’s cousin, that I only knew through her, to pick me up to take me to another town I only had a vague knowledge of. And for some reason this felt okay here, not knowing these people but nestling my way into their lives, if only for a few hours or days. How weird it is to move across the world and have your ideas of what is normal to shift. Perhaps this is why we travel.
From waterfalls, to the redwoods, to the ocean – it’s all welcoming here. It’s inviting and expansive and open, and as Sian and I walked and drove and admired the tropical PNW-esque vibes of New Zealand, the internal spiral collapsed in on itself. Because it’s not about being interesting, and deep down under what we have learned to doubt and fear lies the conviction we were born with – that we are worthy simply because we exist. It’s about learning to love your messiness – learning to love how you navigate the world with both your light and your heaviness. Then, and only then, you won’t be so surprised when others do the same for you. When others welcome you into their lives without knowing you. When others slow down along the journey to walk next to you and say hi, because you are both there and they see you.
On these days with Sian, as we drove and walked and sat and stood, I looked at the constant flowing water, the strength of the redwood trees and peaceful tones of the sand and the sea.