“Hello. Is it me you’re looking for?”
Gotta hand it to the man. Took me twenty-nine years to figure it out, BUT Lionel Richie was ON TO SOMETHING.
Do you ever think about how that one little word, if spoken, could have the power to completely change the course of your life? A word, a phrase, a simple hello. It is the fleeting moment when your gut, your intuition, that deep powerful inner voice (that we usually ignore), speaks to you. You can choose to act on it, or you can overthink it and let the moment pass.
If you do not seize the moment, what are you missing out on? Seize the Day (& Seize the Bae!?!) Hahaha.
My new rule of thumb…it is better to act. Just do it. Speaking up takes courage and practice. Start small. It can be a difficult thing for so many of us…especially the introverts. (Can I get a “Hey Yo?”) Hide in your shell. Do not make eye contact. Do not ask questions. “Dear Lord, what will people think?”
There is ALWAYS more regret in words left unspoken. Anne Frank had a good point, too, after all.
Why do the dead receive more flowers than the living?
One word my friends. Regret.
There is another song, an older country song (nineties…maybe early two thousands), that comes to mind when I think about this whole idea of “Hello.” The male singer talks about a woman he passes on the street. In one scenario, he stops her and says hello. They go for coffee…end up married…you know…the usual. In the other scenario, he lets her pass by, and another man says hello. The opportunity passed him by in the blink of an eye. He did not act, and someone else did. The idea is both beautiful and haunting.
You have the power.
I had an interesting conversation with my third hour math class this year.
Here is what I asked them: If you could, would you want to know (today) who you are going to marry? What ensued was an insightful discussion. Many of them immediately said yes, but I (being the teacher I am) played the devil’s advocate. If you did know who that person was, how would you live your life differently? Would you still date the person you are dating now? What would be the point? Why talk to anyone else? Why take the time to get to know someone else?
All the fun and all the mystery would be gone. No butterflies. No heart-beating-out-of-my-chest, nervous sweat feeling. Dating, taking risks, meaningful conversations with others…these things teach us valuable lessons about ourselves and the world. If you let these opportunities pass you by, are you really the best you can become? Would you even be ready when that person you are going to marry, for example, comes into your life?
When you are traveling, it becomes painfully obvious. The lack of connection. Or rather, how bad you are at making connections with those around you. To survive, you have to fix it right away. Travel, and especially solo travel, does something to a person. Some say that it changes you. I disagree. I think it just reveals your true self. Strip away your home, your comfort zone, your familiar surroundings, and you do not have anyone to lean on besides yourself. No one is there to do it for you. When you are forced to find your voice, speak out, ask questions…that is how you discover who you are. Think Shrek, onion, layers kinda thing.
A simple, “hello.”
A simple, “Where are you from?”
A simple, “Do you need help with directions?”
A simple, “You can take my seat.”
Each of these little words or phrases has changed the course of my day, the course of this trip, maybe even the course of my life. People are just waiting for a reason to talk to each other, to connect. The phenomenon of the hello that I was brave enough to speak (quite difficult for me), has changed my trip for the better SO MANY TIMES now. I HAVE to write about it.
As humans, don’t we all crave connection? To be seen, to be heard, to be accepted by others? For someone to show some interest in you? Otherwise, what are we here for? Are we REALLY only here to work, eat, sleep, repeat? I think not. Some would ask, why strike up conversation with random strangers? I ask, why not?
Some would say, why travel? And why travel so far away? I say, why not?
Why do I travel? Why do I love it so? I have pondered this question often. Yes, the sites are cool. Some of them blow your damn mind, but I have come to discover that it is the people who make the difference. People. My best and most favorite memories of all my travels have been the unexpected unplanned encounters. Complete strangers showing incredible kindness and renewing my faith in humanity. Staying out til 4 am, on the street or in a pub, having a good chat with some new mates. That’s it. That’s the best part for me. That is why I travel.
I am dedicating a whole blog series to the “Hellos,” to the people who have inspired me, and to the crazy interesting stories that follow. I hope you will be inspired to start saying hello too.