Meeting people has always been scary for me but travelling to Europe thrice, really opened my heart to more conversations with strangers. When you travel, there is always somebody around. Whether it’s the air hostess, a bartender or a lady finding her way through the maps… You are always surrounded by people and that is the best part of it. It is more comfortable to talk to fellow travellers, there’s a comradeship among them. And that is what I experienced at my time in France but one incident that speaks to me the most is of Lyon…
Ignazio being surrounded by a bunch of buffoons was looking for some sanity in Lyon, really. We were waiting for our table in front of a restaurant and Ignazio spotted two Italians. I remember him whispering to us “they are Italians”, I was like what? How do you know? And he just nodded and said “I just know”. While waiting in line, to our surprise, they were just behind us and the conversation started there. After a few laughs, the waitresses called for us and we went inside. To our surprise, Federico and Daniele, our two lovely Italians table was right next to us. Naturally, the conversation started again and it just didn’t stop. Before we knew it, we all were walking down the street together aimlessly. After a while of blethering, we paused and realized what are we doing, where are we going… it was then Daniele told us they just have a layover in Lyon and they need to pass time till midnight. So we invited them to our Airbnb, played the piano and god knows what! I can’t exactly remember what we did at our place apart from laughing our bellies out. Shubhi and Angelee being the party women suggested that we should go to a bar but it was already very late at night. After a lot of squabbling, we found an Irish Pub that will be open after midnight as well. We played silly games, drank a lot and danced our hearts out. With them, time literally flew by! It was past midnight before we knew it. It was 1 am and I actually had to remind them that they need to catch their flight. The goodbye was so sad. Ignazio shouted bon voyage and I still remember the feeling I got when they walked out of the door. My heart shrank. Probably just mine though, I know I am dramatic and sentimental. It was in that moment a quote by Tim Cahill dawned upon me, “A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles”. It’s amazing how people and things impact our lives. The people you meet when you travel can be a huge part of your life.
There have been so many incidents over the course of my travels. Whether it was going on a wine tour with strangers or meeting an Indian randomly wandering on the streets of Tuscany or helping a total stranger find their way through Lake Como… In the end, it all comes down to the comradeship I spoke about earlier. Every conversation is genuine and new. Every minute you get to know the person more, their interests, their lives, their family… It is a whole new world of opportunities.
If you are an introvert like me, this is your sign, take your chance. Go talk to someone. Start a conversation with the cashier or the stranger standing next to you at the grocery store. If you are travelling, go ask for help with directions even though you don’t want to. Compliment the locals staying nearby. Give a hug to your Airbnb host. You don’t know what life has in store for you till you actually do something. You never know you get to meet your best friend eating pancakes in Amsterdam or your partner at the airport! You never know what travel brings you! So go on, start a conversation and let life happen to you!