Say Hello to the Stranger at Your Side

As I settled into my seat and prepared for takeoff, I couldn’t help but notice the woman to my left who was looking out the window, quietly sobbing to herself. With my heart full of compassion, I reached out to her, asking if perhaps she was leaving someone behind whom she loved dearly. “My mom just died,” she sighed out in response. 

From that point on we embarked on a conversation about the journey of life, the transformations we encounter along the way, and the fact that the only constant in life is change. We never know what tomorrow will bring.

As I travel the world, I am constantly meeting new people who add the delightful spice of variety to my life. Not everyone becomes a life long friend, but it is surprising at how many people I still keep in touch with. 

On this past trip alone, I spent a lot of time using public transportation, and through these various bus and plane rides I rubbed shoulders with a wide variety of people. I love diversity, and the groups I mingled with were about as diverse as they come. 

I spoke with young kids who were enjoying their summer break from school, and I got to know several young adults who were just embarking on their time in university or in the professional world.

I learned about life in the mountains from an elderly many who had only recently received electricity to his house, and I spoke with entrepreneurs who were able to work remotely from their beautiful beach house a stone’s throw from the ocean. 

I helped pick fruit alongside friendly farmers, working hard in the mountains and I reminisced on the life of the “golden handcuffs” with expats who were settling into beachside communities. 

I talked travel with backpackers who were making their way around the globe and I shared many a conversation about life, love and the perils of being lost at sea with a man whose mission is to protect sea turtles.

Each of these people opened my mind to something new, and introduced me to a wide variety of ways in which people can live their lives. For me, this is the ultimate gift of travel- the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life and to learn from them. 

Have you ever had a time where you met someone while traveling, and something they taught you impacted your outlook on life? Feel free to share your story…

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