One of my favorite parts of traveling is the people. I travel to visit friends and family that I haven’t seen in a while and I travel to meet new people. I like to discover people.
I believe in the inherent good in people. I think that most people really do try to be the best person they can be and that strangers are more likely to help you than harm you.
I think that people are interesting. I’m curious about why they do the things they do, what makes them tick, the experiences they’ve had, what makes them laugh or cry, what makes them want to rage at the world and what makes them love the world.
I like to discover people because I find that I have something in common with most people. Even if it’s hard to see at first or if I want to deny what I see. Our similarities are what remind me that I’m not alone in this world.
Also, people are inspiring! Of course all of the musicians an other artists we met are wonderful people but everyone else is too. You’re seemingly average person has an amazing story of triumph and perseverance in there somewhere. Even if they appear boring to you on the outside, everyone’s got their own something and sometimes they don’t even recognize it. I guarantee that if you pay attention to someone and ask a few questions, it will come out (at least a little) and perhaps in a way that they’d never seen before.
We talk, we relate, we work it out, we grow, we live!
Here is something fun and absolutely ridiculous we made with new friends in Arcata, CA.
Some of the people you meet will turn into life long friends and some of them are only friends for the moment. You never know and it doesn’t really matter. Keep your interactions awesome in this moment because this moment is what really matters.
As a touring performer, making connections is important because it can help you out in the future. Not only do you make new friends but you now have a growing network of friends of friends that can help you in the future.
But this cannot be your sole purpose for associating with people. Anyone can tell if you’re being kind to them just to get something out of them. When you’re kind to just to be kind, not only do they tend to be more genuine but they open up a little bit. Hell, you might just brighten someone’s day!
I can’t tell you how many times a cashier has thanked me for asking how their day was going. The thing is, they can tell that I’m sincere. The other thing is, when I ask, I actually listen to their response and more often than not, I see their eyes light up during our exchange.
We had stickers made for this tour to hand out as business cards or a gift for whenever people donated to us. It was great to have something just to give to people. Being on bike tour generated a lot of questions from strangers, adding the musical part to it brought on even more conversation. Having a positive interaction with people we’d possibly never see again and also have a sticker to give them made it even better. Sometimes you’re road weary and don’t really want to talk to one more person who asks you the same questions you’ve been hearing all tour. What I would remind myself in this scenario is that I may be answering the same questions but in this individual’s world, they’re asking brand new questions. I may have to force a little enthusiasm initially but the same questions with different people, in a different situation yields a brand new conversation for everyone. No matter how tired I am or how awkward I’m feeling, I get to make a genuine connection and that gets me going and leaves me fulfilled.
Such a huge difference it makes when someone has thanked me for a lovely performance then I look them in the eye and thank them back. Some folks are actually taken aback by this. They seem as though they expected to get blown off. I may not have time to converse but I always have time to give someone a genuine moment of my time who gave me one of theirs.
Most strangers are worth at least a few moments of your undivided attention. More of it, if you can spare. It’s not always easy for an introvert like myself to pull this off, but I promise you, it’s always worth it.
Stop at the little diners!
If it has an old, faded, plastic sign and looks like it may not be operational, that’s the place to go! They may not have the best food but I’ve found nothing but good, down-home type of folks running those places. They may have lived in that tiny town their whole lives but they still love tales of adventure. So sit down, have some coffee or a terrible grilled cheese sandwich, a subpar milk shake, tell your story and ask them about theirs. You may end up with a new friend and one of the most amazing slices of pie you’ve ever tasted (DO NOT tell my Grandma!).