Talk to Strangers is the second step in my Five Steps to Transformational Travel and I do realize that I am contradicting the advice your mother most likely gave you many years ago. You see as someone once told me everything important began with a conversation with a stranger – including your very existence. Because at one point, your parents were strangers and then one of them decided to talk to a stranger and look where that led – to you.
The wonderful thing about travelling is it gives you many built-in opportunities to talk with complete strangers. You can ask a local for directions or for a recommendation to a good restaurant or hotel. You can talk to your fellow travelers, the ones you meet on the plane, bus, at a restaurant or simply on the street (you can recognize them because they are usually asking locals for directions too).
When you strike up a conversation with a stranger you never know where it might lead you. You won’t simply get “insider” information from a local but possibly an opportunity to participate in something unique. I have a friend who started talking with their driver in India and before their trip was out they were attending his cousin’s wedding – they were part of a group of 300 guests at an amazing celebration complete with the groom arriving on a beautifully decorated elephant. What a wonderful transformational experience.
I chatted up a fellow traveller on a trip to New Zealand back in 2004 and ending up making a lifelong friend. Fiona and I have now travelled to Egypt, Botswana and Zambia together and each of these trips has had their transformational moments. Plus I have a place to stay in London where she is from and now in Singapore where she is currently working – hmm, another excuse to visit there. More importantly, I made an amazing friend who changed her start date at her new job in Singapore so she could be in Toronto (en route from London) for my wedding. Now that’s a true friend and I wouldn’t have meet Fiona if I hadn’t talked to a stranger.
So ignore your mother’s advice and talk to strangers on your travels as you never know how they might transform your life.
In next week’s blog I will outline Step Three in my Five Steps to Transformational Travel but in the meantime I’d love to hear how you have been transformed by travel so leave me a comment or send an email. Until then, get out there and be a traveller not a tourist.