Everyone is Trying to Con You Travel
Based on everything I had heard, a major part of me expected to get home exhausted at the end of every day having spent the majority of my time fighting with people trying to take advantage of me. Obviously, as with pushy vendors, some caution is needed and a sense of situational awareness, but no matter where in the world I’ve traveled, by and large, the vast majority of my interactions with people were incredibly pleasant. In Asia in particular, most cultures have a profound dedication to hospitality, warmth, and social responsibility. As a foreigner, most locals will view you as their guest and be thrilled at the opportunity to talk to you, include you, and share with you.
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More often than not locals went out of their way to help me, look after me, and to share with me rather than somehow trying to get something from me or con me. In short, the people were incredible and far more gift-giving, benevolent, inclusive, and eager to help me than I think you’d find almost anywhere in the West.
Is that tuk-tuk driver in Bangkok probably a smarmy jackass? Yeah. But, then again, is that a surprise? And even there, for every schmuck I encountered, I met other folks like my tuk-tuk driver and guide in Cambodia who were warm, helpful, went out of their way to offer exceptional service, and were absolutely trustworthy while delivering great value.
So, if you feel like most of the people you’re encountering are trying to take advantage of you, it’s probably time to take a five-minute trip somewhere else. You’re more than likely immersed in an area that is a grossly distorted version of the local community and population or sending out signals that explicitly attract the dregs of humanity.