I just got home from a long trip, flying one way across the country then driving back (to help my sister move from Florida to Idaho <- there’s me driving the moving truck into Provo Canyon), and one of the best things about the trip was talking to strangers.
There were casual chats with stewardesses, asking directions to the beach (when my ride from the airport was a few hours late), sunbathers who agreed to watch my bag while I wandered through the surf, a kite surfer who offered to let me use his other kite (unfortunately, my ride was arriving in a few minutes so I couldn’t accept), other travelers in truck stops and restaurants, one of whom borrowed my phone since she forgot hers at her daughter’s who she had been visiting in St Louis, and so on. They usually seemed surprised and pleased to enjoy a brief conversation with someone they had never met and will never see again.
I know, I know, your mom taught you not to talk to strangers; but you were a child then. Now you’re an adult and talking to strangers is usually safe (so this advice may not apply to my niece and nephews, though everyone they talked to along the way smiled especially big). It also brings our world a bit closer together – and that’s a good thing: studies keep showing that connection is one of the greatest sources of happiness and it’s steadily fading from our social-media-infected world. Continue reading