Tuesday, March 15, 2016

How to approach strangers

Nothing has changed my perspective towards life more than taking the risk of saying “Hi” to people I don’t know. Fellow travelers, photographers, shop owners, locals… we meet so many people while we are on the move. And believe me I have made some of my best friends on the road only. And also some of my best pictures are of strangers.
If you are a shy person, the biggest concern is how to initiate talks. And believe me its not just you but many of us face the same. Here are a few tips:

The hardest part of talking to strangers is getting started. Start with making an eye contact with strangers and smiling at them. Smile is contagious, they are surely going to get a smile back.

This cute couple was basking outside their house in Nathang valley, Sikkim. Just a quick eye-contact and smile got me going with them. I spent almost an hour after that talking to them about their life.

A quick “Hi” once you have caught their eye followed by a compliment on something remarkable you see is the best ice breaker. Compliment on their dress, smile, appearance or whatever catches your eye.

These Rajasthan ladies were very shy in the begining to talk to us. The moment we complimented them on their dress, they were all excited and wanted to be clicked.

Be genuinely interested in their culture. Asking questions regarding their culture works best with locals in case you are in some other town, city or country. Ask about local food, language, costume etc. You’ll find that not only will they be happy sharing it they might as well invite you to their place experience it.

Met this lovely girl in a village of Himachal. I was just roaming around, our eyes caught we smiled and she invited me in. I was curious to know about their tradional attire. looking at my interest she took no time to take her wedding dress out and wore it just for me. 

Smile at the kid and ask his name politely. Kids are never camera shy; they always love to get clicked. So if you are carrying a camera, click their picture and show it to them.

This sweet kid was playing with her mates somewhere near Mulbek in Kashmir. This picture was just a begining of my long talk with her while our vehicle was getting repaired.

Spending time with kids give me immense pleasure, especially when I am traveling alone.

Go there… talk to the strangers… You have nothing to lose but your shyness!
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Thursday, March 3, 2016

5 reasons you would want to consider traveling with Strangers

In this generation of solo-traveling, I feel happy and proud to have traveled with strangers who I connect to - people whom I don't know personally but our love for travel brings us together and we decide to explore a particular place. FAMILIAR STRANGERS is what I call them. In course of our journey, I not only explore the place but also get to know these strangers in depth, some of whom become my good friends. Though it's not a very common practice yet, I find traveling like this very interesting and safe. 

Here is why you might also would want to consider traveling with strangers...

#1 Travel in budget

One advantage of travelling in a group is all your costs get shared. Say for instance, you want to explore the countryside and only way to reach there is hiring a cab. If I am solo I would think twice but being in a group all I do is share my idea and get a few people interested to do the same.

#2 Freedom to explore solo with safety of a group

As these people are not your close friends or your family, you are not bound to stick with them for the whole day or get their nod in all your plans. So be solo and explore your way... and while you are on your own you are aware that there are familiar people around in case of any emergency, so you travel with a sense of safety.

#3 No feeling lonely

Good thing about traveling with a group of strangers is you have people to come back to and tell your stories to. While you get enough time to delve deep into your inner self you also get the company of strangers whom you can chat endlessly about almost anything without hesitations

#4 Get your countless pictures clicked 
Clicked by a photographer traveling with me
All of us want to be clicked while travelling... Travelling in a group give you enough opportunities to be clicked.
I still wonder how solo travelers get their beautiful pics, who clicks it for them so perfectly  ;)

#5 Celebrate life and make friends for life 

Make memories with other travelers and celebrate the event called life. Since you get enough time to chat with lovely strangers, it might open a whole new world to you. Traveling with familiar strangers give me that opportunity to connect with interesting people.

I get awestruck to look back and realize how many different familiar strangers I have made friends with in these couple of years. 
An ever-excited old retired scientist who never want to be called old, has lost his life partner when he needed her the most and now travels to steal some lively moments with co-travelers; 
a young loving couple who’s full of love and appreciation for each other and is traveling to understand life from each other’s perspective; 
a middle aged strong single lady who is self-dependent and living her life on her own terms for whom traveling is a part of life
an ambitious young man who draws inspiration from “himself-some-years-from-now” and is traveling as he finds a sense of accomplishment by ticking it off his must-visit list; 
a young chirpy independent girl who has perfectly learnt to hide her sorrow behind her smile and for whom travel is a good way of understanding herself a little more;
an old couple who wants to explore together the maximum while they can. 

And I can relate to each one of them. Some remind me of my loneliness, some of my urge to be independent, some of my romantic self and some of my hunger to live life to the fullest. I wonder how similar we all are… going through similar emotions, sentiments and passion to live life in a best possible way in given conditions. 

Though there are so many benefits, you need to be little cautious while chosing your travel mates. Will discuss what all needs to be taken care of, in the next post.

Till then keep traveling and celebrating life!

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