Did your mother ever tell you to never talk to strangers? That was maybe sage advice when you were three! When you are all grown up and travelling the world, ignore it and talk to as many as you can.
We know from personal experience that whenever we are in unfamiliar territory, whether in a new country or new area, the best advice comes from other travelers or the residents.
Walking up to strangers and striking up conversations is worth the effort, even if only for recommendations on the best places to eat. If the very thought of doing this makes you cringe, don’t worry it is not as hard as it seems.
Don’t be shy – just look for a friendly ice breaker to start the conversation – Canadian travelers love to flash the distinct red maple leaf – Just stop them in the streets and ask what part of the country they are from. This works really well if you are a fellow Canadian and very well with our American neighbors too.
Yvonne who strangely enough was terribly shy as a child is a natural at this and you can soon learn the skill. Keep your ears open for a familiar accent or language and strike up a conversation. People especially expats, are always very happy to share their local knowledge. Before you know it, you can get the insiders slant on the best places to shop, eat and even snorkel.
The reality is people and especially travelers, love to share their experiences – the good the bad and the scary.
We have gleaned useful tips and many good recommendations by just striking up a conversation. Even in this information age Google does not have all the answers, especially when visiting places far from the tourist trail. On the ground, up to date local information can save you a lot of time and money.
The information network is probably the greatest advantage of staying in backpacker hostels. During our 1995 world tour we found that the communication and connection between travelers is strong, you are plugged into a network of like-minded people looking for a similar experience.
Your backpacking days may be over and you may find as we have, that renting private accommodations means you are more isolated. That’s why it is important to get out of your shell and talk to strangers.
The quality of your life (or travels in this case) is directly related to the quality of the questions you ask. In this case Momma was wrong!
“Chance is always powerful. Let your hook be always cast. In the pool where you least expect it, there will be fish.” –Ovid