The most important thing that I have learned while traveling is to always be friendly to people. It can be very surprising how much new people can bring richness to your adventure. Whether it’s getting a quick recommendation for a delicious local restaurant or making new friends to travel with. The way to truly learn about a new place and it’s culture is through the people.
I will be traveling to Australia in a couple of days and will be flying out to Perth for the specific reason to visit a couple that my family and I met almost 10 years ago. On a trip to Florence, Italy my family was lost looking for the statue of David when an elderly couple came up to us admitting that they too were lost and wondered if we would mind if they tagged along until we found the location of the statue. We of course welcomed them to join our wandering and they stayed with us the remainder of the day touring Florence. They helped make that trip so memorable and gave us a completely different experience then we would have had on our own. We stayed in touch with them over the years by sending emails, skyping, and through Christmas cards. When I decided to take this trip to Australia I emailed Val to tell ask her if she had any recommendations for places I should visit. She responded with a list of things I should do and even offered to let my mother and I stay at their place and they will be showing us around Perth.
I have multiple stories of how my trip was made better because of someone I met along the way. Granted you should always be aware and alert when meeting new people because not everyone is as good hearted as you hope. But no matter what you should always treat others how you would want to be treated no matter where you go. In the end you are a foreigner visiting someone elses hometown. Just be respectful and kind to people on your journey and you will be surprised how it can pay off in end.