“There are no strangers here, only friends you haven’t yet met” - William Butler Yeats
One of the first lessons we are taught when we are young is to not talk to strangers. One of the best things about being an adult is you get to make your own rules and question the previous barriers that were put upon us in our youth.
We often have interactions with strangers on a daily basis but rarely do these conversations go past kind small talk. We tend to have our group of friends and stick to our comfort zones because after all, it can take a lot of energy to get to know someone else. At home we have our routines and we meet the usual suspects at our social outings, but how might it be traveling?
When we are in our own groups it can be easy not to meet anybody new. There is always someone there to share an experience with you or bounce ideas off of. We are able to bring our rich memories back to where we are from and forever have a connecting point with our adventurous compadres. When you travel solo, it is different.
Solo travel can be intimidating for some. Many of us rarely actually spend a lot of time on our own, and even those of us who enjoy that space still need human connection after some time. Really, there are two options. It is entirely possible to keep to yourself, hide in your room and not interact within anyone, or you can break the difficult barrier of saying hello to a stranger. That old message that was ingrained in us when younger can be hard to shake but it surprisingly leads us to some of the most pleasant encounters along the journey.
Strangers are usually kind people with hidden stories to tell. They too can be timid and also interested in what kind of exotic discoveries you have made along your life, but if both sides fail to engage in conversations, this magical exchange of knowledge just vanishes away into the universe. All that is required is a bit of effort. It doesn’t take much to realize that it pays to be kind to one another. As a foreigner, local people can be equally as curious about our own cultures and realistically, very few of them will ever have the opportunity to visit them. With other travelers, the ice-breaking should be even easier. For whatever reason, you have found yourself in the same area of the world at the same time and opportunity is just sitting there waiting for you to grab it.
There are endless things to be discovered, relationships to be built and friendships to be made. Its true, some people can be weird, but in any case we learn something new about ourselves and add one more perspective to consider in our world view.
Traveling allows you to meet wonderful people from around the world. It isn’t always easy to find somebody that you click with instantly, but you will never know unless you give it a shot.
And that is life isn’t it. Stepping into the unknown, and trusting the outcome. Trusting ourselves and adapting to the situation. Connecting with people, who are not so different from us after all.
With an open mind, and an open heart, strangers don’t have to be so scary. They may just end up changing everything for the better.
Let’s change the way we travel, together.
The Lifestyle Project