From somewhere I suddenly gained a strange irrational fear. The change of language and surroundings in Spain had made me uncomfortable. To combat this I know I have been using money and technology as a crutch.
Staying with Jogoba my warmshowers host in Bilbao has been great. It’s let me find some confidence, ask questions about Spain and start to try to grapple with the language. The use of warmshowers though is a way of removing fear. I mentioned before not feeling like I have the confidence to just knock on a door. I shy away from an open interaction with a perfect stranger. Warmshowers gives an instant connection with your host, ‘cycle touring’. It is also a pre-agreed transaction of somewhere to sleep fashioned using technology that keeps you partially hidden and anonymous in asking for help. This eases that fear of the stranger and reduces my anxiety. It puts staying and interacting with a stranger into a safe mental space.
The other way I have avoided unfamiliar interaction with complete strangers is through money. Tom Allen has talked about this. I stayed in a hostel in San Sebastian the use of currency meaning any interaction with other people was formalised within familiar boundaries and comfortable.
Last night I wild camped in Spain for the first time. A recommendation on a place to camp from Jogoba eased my nerves despite the fact that being in a different country should not really make much difference. It’s still in a way hiding from strangers though but instead of behind money or technology it is literally hiding. Maybe tonight I’ll knock on a door?