The Life of a Traveler
Life lesson #2:
explore and talk to strangers
You can go on a great trip doing exactly what guide books say, staying in tourist destinations, talking to other tourists, eating at the restaurant in the hotel. It will be safe, lovely, no surprises, in your comfort zone, and an absolutely great trip. Or you can go off the beaten path, explore and experience something you never even dreamed existed. You can go on a walk in the Australian rainforest, end up swimming by a waterfall with turtles, meet a random horse, and not encounter another person all day. (This did happen to my “sister” and I, and yes, mom, we were safe and left where we were going with the bed and breakfast owners) You can talk to locals and find out where they eat, drink, relax. You can experience a tiny slice of their life. You can go on an adventure. (Of course as long as you’re safe, tell someone where you are going, and do your research for any dangers)
Some of my best memories traveling have been the days when I’ve ended up at a tiny jazz club in the back alleys of a city, or went on a hike on the less-traveled path, been invited over for dinner at a person’s home, or just sat on a patio with the locals taking it all in. Actually in my day-to-day life, these are my favourite memories too. It’s so important to listen to other people’s stories. And although talking to strangers in my own city has never been a strong point of mine, I am much better at it when exploring a different country or city, and these encounters inspire me to be more open here in Toronto. It’s also important to take chances. I’m a big believer in stepping outside of your comfort zone. It inspires and challenges you, makes you feel alive, changes the way you look at the world. You never know what you’ll find – about the place you are in and about yourself.
On a related note, my “sister” and I (the one I’m going to Thailand and Cambodia with) are applying for The Amazing Race Canada! Oh yes, we are. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we got in and you could follow us traveling (and of course winning) across Canada? I have so many dreams… I will write my favourite saying once again, which seems very appropriate at this moment: “leap and the net will appear”!
Next week I’ll talk about one more lesson I learned while traveling and then I’ll be off to Bangkok!