As someone who travels alone a lot, it is very easy to feel very alone in a new city.
I remember one time, I had travelled to Las Vegas. Incorrectly, I had assumed that staying in hostels in Vegas would be an uplifting and fun experience like staying in European hostels. Alas, it wasn’t even close. It was absolutely horrible. As I tried to use their main computer to book a flight out or find different accommodations (their wifi wasn’t working), a man sat beside me begging me to spend the night with him and he even stole my phone and room key… later to return them to me luckily. But the night was just horrible.
The next day, as I waited for my taxi to take me to the airport, my nerves were totally frazzled. No matter how much I breathed and tried to centre myself, my insides were just shaking.
And then, a man stepped into the waiting area of the hostel. As he walked by me, he looked me right in the eyes and smiled. It wasn’t anything crazy, just the most peaceful, genuine smile holding my eye-gaze. Instantly, I felt this wonderful peace flow all the way through me. All the anxiety left. All of the inner shaking was gone. I felt just wonderful.
All he did was look at me and smile. Somehow, I was no longer alone.
It was just amazing… the power of that simple smile.