Often, when we think of travel, we think about how excited we are to see a cool new place, but did you ever think of travelling as a way to meet cool new people?
Human connection is something we all crave. Making the effort to connect to people enriches our lives. While I discussed in my last blog post how sometimes people we encounter might not have good intentions, this is not always the case! In fact, in travel and in everyday life, most people are good people, you just need to give them a chance.
In an ordinary day, a simple conversation with a taxi driver or a cashier at a store can turn mundane activities into something much more interesting, you might learn something interesting!
We might stereotype people based off their appearance, country of origin, material items etc., but taking the time to reconnect or connect with someone can make all the difference. In travel, this can enhance your travel experience and allow you to get more of an authentic local experience! Keep in mind though you’re never really a local if you are just visiting, however you can still get a real sense of what life is like wherever you are if you do as they do!
This doesn’t mean go start talking to random people on the street (you can if you want to depending on your personality, if you feel safe, and your comfort level…). I am talking about making every interaction count. It can be as easy as talking to the couple next to your table in a restaurant or starting a conversation while waiting in a long line with the people ahead of you. You might gain insights into things you didn’t consider, such as a site or restaurant that the people you are talking to really enjoyed and recommend.
We’ve heard the age old saying it’s ‘quality over quantity,’ well why can’t it be both? Why can’t we make both quality and quantity connections? In the long run, all these connections, no matter how big or small will make a huge difference on not just your travel and everyday life, but also how you feel about yourself!
Make an effort to speak in the local language while travelling – a little goes a long way! Often, this not just lightens the situation when interacting with people, but it shows them you respect their time and their culture.
Fun fact, I speak a few languages – one being Spanish which has come in handy while visiting Cuba & different parts Spain!
One experience in particular was when my boyfriend and I were staying in a Hostal (a one star hotel in Europe) off the Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain. The owner did not speak a word of English! Checking in was easy enough since we had booked and prepaid everything in advance other than the city tax (most places in Europe charge a tourist tax ranging from 1-5 euros/ night). While we were there, she did appreciate as we went in and out of the place we would say hello and ask how she was doing, which made the experience of staying there that much more enjoyable and she was more friendly with us than others.
Upon check out, we wanted to see if we could leave our baggage there for the day since our flight to Bilbao, Spain (northern Spain) didn’t leave until later in that evening. My boyfriend tried to show her what we wanted to ask with body language and spoke English as clearly and slowly as he could, but she didn’t understand. It wasn’t until I began to use my Spanish skills she understood and she was more than happy to let us leave our luggage!
I guess another lesson here is to not just make connections, but don’t be afraid to.
Take the chance and get out of your comfort zone and be vulnerable. My Spanish isn’t perfect (I took a few courses in University) and I feared saying the wrong word or not pronouncing a word correctly. However, in actuality, people really appreciate that you are trying and that you are making the effort to speak their language! The same goes for everyday life, making the effort to communicate is generally appreciated by others even if communicating may be difficult (such as communicating with someone with hearing difficulties).
You never know who, what, when, and how a connection could lead you to a new opportunity like a job or further develop into a deeper relationship. When travelling, you never know when striking up a conversation with someone or engaging with locals in their language might lead to tips, advice, and recommendations that enrich your travel experience.
If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you. Challenge yourself in everyday life and in travel. Take the opportunity to do things that take you out of your comfort zone like speaking another language and make that connection!
Do you have an interesting travel connection or do you have a travel experience you would like to share? Don’t forget to like, comment, and share if you found this post helpful – I post a new blog post every Sunday!
Ciao for now,