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One solution for the lone traveller

Hello,

I would like to know which website you joined for Home Exchange since I am interested in the Hospitality Exchange and House Sitting options currently.

Thank you for your wonderful tips! I will read you next one on Lausanne now!

Mid-west_ Maray

S. WALES

coolonespa wrote:

The media have made us all too aware of the risks strangers present, always knowing its the small minority who pose the risk. I guess the other question is that, if you invited a lost westerner to your home, how many would come?

All very true – but I think we’ve lost something precious, now we tend to assume the worst of people we don’t know or understand. I can’t count the times I’ve been reliant on the kindness of strangers – not here in the UK, but in distant places. (Having said that, a woman fell in our High Street the other day and people didn’t hesitate to help her, mop up blood and sit with her till the ambulance came. So we can still do it!)

I remembering in my EFL teaching, reading entire tracts on appropriate eye contact in the classroom ,depending on nationality and culture. In Germany it’s quite acceptable (indeed expected) to maintain unblinking eye contact throughout (which can make the average Brit a tad uneasy), with Chinese and Arabic students it’s considered downright rude and eye contact should only be made when absolutely necessary, while the English themselves perform an ocular balancing act of 50-50 eye contact, breaking off at intervals, then resuming eye contact again, before looking away at an appropriate moment before looking up again and so on. So if you’re teaching a group of mixed nationalities it can become somewhat tricky on the old mince pies.

One colleague I spoke to who taught in Qatar told me his classroom was divided with a screen into male and female students, the men could look at the tutor and vice versa but zero eye contact made between head down female students and tutor.

Wakefield, West Yorks.

JoCarroll wrote:

How many of us would welcome a total stranger into our homes, simply because they were lost?

The media have made us all too aware of the risks strangers present, always knowing its the small minority who pose the risk. I guess the other question is that, if you invited a lost westerner to your home, how many would come?

Essex UK

I so agree, Steve – in my limited experience, people who live in developing countries are far more curious about visitors than we are, and want to join in conversations. Sometimes that’s just to practise their English, which is fine (how else can they learn). But I can’t help comparing the kindness and generosity I’ve met in some distant places with our disregard of tourists who come here. How many of us would welcome a total stranger into our homes, simply because they were lost?

One of the interesting things I noticed in Indochina is that, whilst people round here walk around looking at there shoes trying to avoid eye contact, people over there are more likely to hold there head up make eye contact and smile back.

Essex UK

I agree with you, @Grey-Wolf – we have nothing but passing acquaintance with most people. And that’s fine – because I have a few friends I’m very close to and my daughters and grandchildren are the best in the world.

In that context, I find it interesting what people will disclose to total strangers when they are away from home. When I was working I had to interview people about difficult subjects, so maybe have a skill or two that helps people open up. And I think there is something about being with people you’re never going to see again that seems to give some people permission to say things they’d never admit to neighbours. So I have met some wonderful, fascinating people while I’m away.

But there are a few who have got up my nose! I can’t manage people who are openly rude to waiters. Or to their partners – men who assume their wives can’t speak for themselves, or wives who expect their husbands to organise everything (and carry everything). And the woman I met on a bus in Goa who assumed I’d come just to find a new husband was a bit of a pain.

Last Edited by JoCarroll at 12 Apr 08:58

@Jocarroll, I’ve been making some notes of my own on that one recently – “silence as social currency” i.e. I could count on twenty hands the number of people I’m on nodding acquaintance where I live, very pleasant and it remains that way because it never gets past surface level pleasantries, like a sort of code. Never intrusive. Always carry on where you left off. Leave off before you start carrying on. That’s that.
I don’t know if it’s an English thing : 500,000 words at our disposal but they stick to about 20.

Last Edited by Grey-Wolf at 12 Apr 02:37
Wakefield, West Yorks.

Grey-Wolf wrote:

I’m sure I’ve shared this top tip before, but I know someone who uses this line to deter unwanted attentions, when asked, “What do you do for a living ?” replies, “I’m a tax inspector.” …always gets the bar to himself…

I’m often scribbling in a notebook while I’m in cafes and restaurants. So I get the ‘what are you writing?’ question. Sometimes I tell them, but have been known to say I’m writing about people who ask total strangers meaningless questions! Rude, I know – and I only say that when someone has been a real pain. (Most people are fab!)

I’m sure I’ve shared this top tip before, but I know someone who uses this line to deter unwanted attentions, when asked, “What do you do for a living ?” replies, “I’m a tax inspector.” …always gets the bar to himself…

Wakefield, West Yorks.
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