Luke Melia


January 22, 2002

1/22/02, 1:20 AM

1/22/02, 1:20 AM

Back in New York. Jet lagged, happy, and more appreciative of hot, high-pressure showers than ever before.

Work begins tomorrow and volleyball the day after. Life is getting rolling again and though I’m sad that my adventure’s over, I guess I’m ready to roll.

One of the most interesting things from my trip, philosophically, is a conversation that Elbert and I had in Laos trying to make sense of the extraordinary kindness and generosity we were shown in our time there. I was expressing a wish that I could bring the same generosity and sense of community to my life in New York. One of us (can’t remember who) said this:

“In Laos, people trust each other by default. In New York, people distrust each other by default.”

You mainly notice it with strangers, because you know enough about friends to have a more informed opinion. A British guy who runs an eco-tourism company in Laos noted the campaign in many countries to get kids to not talk to strangers. He called it short-sighted, noting that it’s quite contrary to the older adage, “A stranger is a friend you haven’t met yet.”

I guess I’ll talk it over with my friends. And maybe with some strangers…

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