While traveling, we firmly believe you should take the time to talk to the people you meet along the way. We always say the best part of traveling is not the places we have been but the people we have met.
You never know what you may gain from talking to a stranger
Honestly, you never know what you will gain from talking to a stranger, you may even marry them. We met on a puddle jumper plane in 2013 in Belize, now are married, just had our first child and have never stopped traveling since then. Life can really surprise you, especially while traveling, if you step out of your comfort zone and talk to strangers around you.
Meet new friends
For example, after we got charged by a bear in Alaska (see What you can Learn from Being Charged by a Bear), we turned around on the trail and met a couple, Matt and Megan, from Texas who we ended up hiking with the rest of the day. We had some great conversations and got to share the beauty of one of the best, most challenging, hikes in Alaska with another couple.
Similarly, when we were in Toledo, Spain, we asked a stranger to take a picture for us. After that, we started talking to him and before we knew it, we had explored all of Toledo with our new friend Ricardo. Besides great conversation, Ricardo spoke fluent Spanish and really helped us explore Toledo more like a local. (See, coming soon, Madrid/Toledo Spain Quick Guide).
Have more memorable experiences
By talking to strangers while traveling, you will have more memorable experiences and conversations. On our train ride from Cinque Terre to Venice, we sat across from a couple from Australia who we spent the whole afternoon discussing cultural differences/similarities, politics and travel stories. That train ride was the fastest train ride we have ever taken despite it actually being the longest train ride we have ever taken.
On another train ride from Dublin to Killarney, we spent the whole ride talking to two friendly local men, mainly comparing Ireland and the USA . These men gave us some really good tips on how to experience Killarney less like a tourist. One of the men actually ended up driving us to our hotel because it was raining. We would not suggest getting rides from strangers (in retrospect, this could have ended very differently) but he was truly a very kind man.
Learn from locals
By talking to strangers, you will most certainly learn a thing or two. In Marrakech, Morocco, we were taken to the local market area instead of the touristy medina by a local we started talking to, with the very little Arabic we knew. Here, we were shown local aliment remedies that we had seen everyday at the medinas but had no idea what the uses of each of these were. We would have been completely naïve to this information had we not talked to this man.
You get the point, the more friendly you are and the more people you talk to, the more memorable your experience will be. You never know what you might learn from talking to a stranger or what part they may play in your life!
We hope this post encourages you to talk to more people while traveling. What are your favorite stories from talking to strangers while traveling? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions. Please leave us a comment.
And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!