When I began traveling while studying abroad, I never truly appreciated how my adventures would shape my life moving forward, or how they would connect me to strangers all over the globe. Still, the connections that I have made and continue to make because of traveling, always have a way of catching me off guard. Whether it’s someone you meet in an exotic location that grew up in your home town, or someone you strike up a conversation with that stayed in the same hotel you did in Florence, travel connections still shock me. The world can be a pretty small place.
I’m not exactly a shy person and I tend to talk to strangers a lot about their travel experiences, and I don’t have a problem giving my advice or opinion, even if it’s not asked for.
Let’s take this past Sunday for instance. I stopped by one of my favorite travel stores in the mall to try and find a replacement backpack for my old JanSport that finally died after my last trip. While I was in the store another lady was there shopping for her upcoming vacation. She was looking for a collapsable duffle bag. As it turned out, I had just been looking at those myself and told her where she could find them. And naturally I also asked where she would be traveling to. She said Ireland and Scotland. That was all the opening I needed to tell her about what to do when she got there. Luckily she welcomed my thoughts and advice. The store clerk was also helping her out and we all got to talking about travel.
I learned that the clerk was originally from Israel and like most of us, would love to travel full time. And the other woman has traveled a fair amount herself. We ended up having a 30 minute conversation about how people who don’t travel limit themselves, and tend not to want to adapt and move forward with the world. Who really knows if those things are related, but we did all agree that people who don’t leave home are more narrow minded than those who travel. I left the store (after purchasing a beautiful new collapsable duffle. Still no backpack) elated and invigorated by our conversation, grinning ear to ear. Kind of like that feeling you get when you go on a date with someone you really like.
Over the years I’ve had many conversations like the one I had Sunday and I’ve made quite a few good fiends because of shared travel experiences, but it never ceases to amaze me how something so simple can instantly give you a connection to a complete stranger.
Travel is awesome!