I've paid extra attention to it on this trip and I've realized that when I'm somewhere that nobody knows me, I'm not bogged down by the past or by people's pre-conceived notions of me. I've done a lot of soul searching and adjusting this past year, and I can honestly say that I've changed quite a bit. I've learned a lot about myself, and about life, and I've made adjustments within myself that I feel I need to be happy. Unfortunately, people tend to form an idea in their head about you - and to be fair, it's often accurate based on who you were and how you acted at the time - and it seems nearly impossible to get people to change that perception.
This is incredibly frustrating to me, because I'm a person that believes in giving people a lot of chances. If they tell me they're working on something, I earnestly look to see if I can notice the differences. I am a huge promoter of the power of self awareness as a catalyst (obviously), and I am also a big believer in good people. I want to give everyone the chance to change - I don't want to pigeon hole them into my view of who they were 5 years ago, or one year ago, or even 6 months ago. Sadly, too many people live by the old adage "you never get a second chance to make a first impression." They've decided who you are, and if you're going to change their mind it could take years, if they afford you that opportunity at all.
When I travel (or do anything) alone, this isn't an issue. I don't know the history of anyone around me, and they don't know mine. My interactions with them start from that moment forward. They experience the new me, the me right now, the person that I'm becoming more and more happy with every day, the person that's come a very long way.
Wouldn't it be nice if we didn't have to go to another city/state/country by ourselves and meet strangers to have this? Wouldn't it be great if when we worked so hard on ourselves, made the changes we needed to make, that the people in our life would allow us to truly start with a clean slate? Wouldn't it be marvelous if they'd say "hey, I'm excited to experience this new you!"? To me, this would be incredible, and it's exactly the reason I'm so understanding of people, allow them to try to change, and give numerous chances - whether it be family, friendship, relationship, or even business.
I believe in karma, and I believe that you get what you give. For those people who close their minds, and in some cases their doors: some day you might be the one to make changes and establish a "new you". Wouldn't you want others to open their minds and allow you the opportunity to do so?