QuoraED: How Have You Started A Conversation With A Stranger While Travelling

QuoraED! This is when we pick up a trending or interesting thread from Quora and spin a story around it.

Travelling is like a breath of fresh air to the soul, isn’t it? If things don’t go the way you plan, or if you don’t even have a PLA, the best thing would always be to pack your bag and get going!

But, have you ever been intrigued by a stranger sitting next to you on the plane, and you thought they would be an absolutely amazing person, but did not know how to strike a conversation with them?

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Well, welcome to the club!

I was utilising my break (haha), looking for answers on Quora that would help enable me to talk to a hot stranger the next time I’d be travelling, and I found some gems. Check them out.

The original question read, “How have you started a conversation with a stranger of the opposite gender while travelling?”

  1. One user said:

“I travel a lot and mostly alone. So it’s always nice to meet people along the way who you become friends with you. Generally I see if the person wants to talk. You should not interrupt someone especially if they are doing something like reading and listening to music.

It is always good to start with introducing yourself or you can ask a simple question like where he/she is from. As many people have pointed out, over-thinking only complicates. Start with small talk and gradually you might find out some common interests or points of travel. Also, I am generally looking for backpackers with similar travel locations. Always helps to reduce the expenses plus you make a travel buddy. :)

One time travelling from Berlin in a train, I was sitting with a girl my age. She was reading the English version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. This is something not very common in Germany where I have seen people read books in the native language. After some time she stopped and I just casually said hello and asked where she was from. She said Germany and I mentioned I haven’t really seen many people reading English books here. So we ended up chatting and turns out we were heading to the same place. We stayed together until the end of the trip and I ended making up a nice friend.”

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Read More: Traveling Is For The Privileged So Stop Your Travel Snobbery

  1. Another user shared the most important thing to keep in mind while talking to a stranger.

“I’ve had some wonderful conversations with strangers: cab drivers, people on airplanes, people on trains, fairground employees, conference attendees, people in book stores, events, even outside the showers at a camp ground. If someone says “Hi” in a friendly way, or we’re sharing a space for a while, or they just don’t seem like a weirdo, I’m likely to ask a soft intro question.

I think the key is not to be afraid of people (regardless of their gender, age, etc.) Especially people you may never see again; You’ve got a built-in personal-interaction ejection seat because of that. You can always just walk away and never see them again if it doesn’t go well. And if they’re not into it, don’t push it. Just let it go. There will be other interesting people down the road.

Most of the people you meet in life are harmless and some are terribly fascinating. Not all, but many. If they seem interesting to you, talk to them. I had the most fascinating chat with an Uber driver (and new restaurateur) not long ago who was originally from Ethiopia. I learned more about Ethiopia in those 20 minutes than I’d learned my whole life. I sincerely hope to visit his restaurant one of these days. And I hope he remembers me.”

 

  1. Another user shared how she became friends with a complete stranger just by initiating a conversation.

“Once I was clicking photos at the Wagah Border in Amritsar. I saw an Indian soldier walking towards me, and I quickly caught him on camera. I mumbled a thank you, and he politely nodded back. I left. Next day, I went to the Jallianwala Bagh and to my surprise, he was there. He recognised me too! We talked for a bit, and he told me that he is asoldier of the Indian Air Force. We clicked more photos, and later became friends on Facebook. His parents used the photos I had clicked to find him a bride! And guess what? He got married two weeks back, and he invited me to his wedding! :) Unfortuately, I couldn’t make it.

As you’ll notice, I don’t find it very hard to strike up conversations with fellow travellers. And their gender doesn’t make much of a difference to me. I have stories about women travellers too. :) There are no hard and fast rules to be followed. A smile, a friendly hi and a tad bit of curiosity can go a long way. If your intention is right, in all likelihood you’ll get friendly responses from most travellers. People will be happy to chat and share stories. However, if you get the feeling that the other person is not interested, then never ever push it. Just keep to yourself.”

Even though I have never been able to talk to people like these Quora users did, not because of my general hatred for people, but because I could never gather the courage to do that. But I found an amazing friend in a stranger on my first solo international flight. We talked at the airport a bit, when his mother started a conversation with me, asking me all sorts of questions, and I tried to avoid people. Then he saw me fidgeting in the plane, visibly bored, trying to figure out what to do. He sat beside me (as the seat next to me was empty), and we talked about anything and everything, and then we watched F.R.I.E.N.D.S. together! What better way to make friends!

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So, shed your inhibitions and start talking.

Image Credits: Google Images


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