I’m halfway through an 8-hour trip, sitting in a bus station somewhere between Moni and Labuanbajo, on the island of Flores, Indonesia. A local guy who was with me in the van on the first part of the trip, who had took me to his house to meet his family and then helped me change money and find somewhere to eat after the first four hours of the trip, dropped me here and told me to wait for a mini-van to leave to Labuanbajo. As soon as I arrived someone took my backpack off my shoulders and put it in a van, to secure me as a customer.
At one point I saw the van leave. I thought whether my bag was safe, and went to ask a driver there. He told me “no problem”. They didn’t know any English there. Something inside me told me that it’s useless to panic, just sit and wait and it will probably be ok. And 5 minutes later the guy came back with the van. Seemed like he had gone to buy food or water. Soon after that, more locals arrived and as soon as the van filled up, we were off. I hoped they knew I wanted to get to Labuanbajo.
This was the first time I was travelling alone in an Asian country, and one of my lessons in patience and trust that travelling has been teaching me. I had to be patient while the van left, not really sure what time I’ll leave or get to where I wanted to go. I had to trust people I didn’t know, I wasn’t sure they new where I wanted to go and many other doubts going through my head.
Back home everything is under our control. We know how long it takes us to get somewhere, who to trust, how to complain if we’re not served well, and so on. When we are travelling, especially in non-western countries where things are done differently, without trust and patience we won’t last, we won’t enjoy the experience.