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February 28, 2013 / A Mindful Traveler

Engaging – With Other Travelers

I’ve had the same strange experience a number of times while traveling.  A casual remark by a stranger leads to a conversation that ends up stretching over hours or days.  I suppose given the regularity of this experience, it shouldn’t really seem strange to me, but given its unpredictability and the unfamiliarity to one another of the parties involved, “strange” seems just right.

Of course you don’t need to be traveling for a casual remark to lead to a conversation, friendship, or even a romantic relationship.  What I’ve found different about travel is that it facilitates much more intense interactions.  I suspect this is both because people are more at ease when traveling and there are also relatively few risks to opening up to someone you’re unlikely to see again.  If either party to the conversation finds it uninteresting or awkward, you’re under no obligation to continue.   This in turn also gives people the liberty to be somewhat blunt in their speech.

The end of such conversations is not always matter of choice.  I’ve found a beautiful impermanence to them, since they’re even more transitory than other human interactions by their very nature.  I’ve often had a bus, train, tuk-tuk, or other means of transportation take me or my conversation partner away mid-sentence, and not always before we’ve exchanged email addresses.

The connections I’ve made traveling have generally been chance and situational.  I’ve gone to some effort to increase their likelihood by doing thorough research into the sociability of places where I stay.  I’ve found that inexpensive places a bit  (but not too far) off the beaten track work best.  In my experience they draw both the widest variety of travelers and the most interesting individuals.  In both regards, my all time favorite is the Olive Garden in Kabak, Turkey (the food alone worth the two hour drive many people make just to eat lunch there!)

I’ll leave you with a picture I took there, and a question.    How do you try to engage with other people  (whether travelers or locals) when you travel?

Kabak, Turkey

Kabak, Turkey

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6 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Le Stylus / Feb 28 2013 12:38 pm

    What a truly breathtaking view! 🙂 I’d love to visit this place some time. It’s surely going on my list of places to visit.

    • A Mindful Traveler / Feb 28 2013 12:40 pm

      Thanks for your kind words and taking the time to comment! It’s an amazing place beyond the view as well. There’s great hiking, you can swim up to the edge of that bay (it’s protected by the sides) and the food is really amazing. It’s also so peaceful!

  2. Mahmood Ahmed / Feb 28 2013 2:15 pm

    Very beautiful, talking about friendly places, you should try Nepal if you haven’t so already.

    • A Mindful Traveler / Feb 28 2013 9:23 pm

      Thank you for your kind comment Mahmood Ahmed! I haven’t been to Nepal yet, but it’s very high on my list. Where do you recommend there to really engage with people? I’ve heard good things about Boudha and Lumbini but a friend had an unfortunate experience on the Annapurna Circuit.

  3. Mahmood Ahmed / Mar 1 2013 3:39 pm

    Try Pokhara, its very beautiful, also ppl from all nationalities can be seen there.

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