Number Two: Talk to strangers.
We’re not suggesting you walk up to random people on the street (although we don’t judge, so if that’s your thing…) Have dinner at the bar or lunch at a communal table. Sit near the crowd at the beach. Then find a way to get the conversation going.
Most people, especially seasoned travelers, are eager to share their stories so it isn’t hard. Notice something about the person sitting next to you; ask what they’re eating; complement their choice of Hawaiian shirt… If that’s too challenging for you introverts in the crowd then help others along by giving them a reason to strike up the conversation with you – a book (you remember those), a hat, an unusual drink order.
For us the conversation starter is often Hillary’s shoes – typically outlandish and completely inappropriate for the significant amount of walking undertaken each day. But in Argentina it was Mark’s silver bracelet – purchased in a small town in Indonesia. He always wears it as a reminder that it’s important to experience a bit of the world every day.
At a little winery in Mendoza, Argentina the guitar-turned-wine-guy tasting room shopkeeper had on a similar bracelet. It turns out it was also purchased in the same small Indonesian town. Yes, it is a VERY small world. Quite a few hours and glasses of wine later we had compared travel stories, discussed the merits of several guitar makers (he’s still playing and recording) and learned he has family in Napa, California. Moreover he told us about some hidden travel treasures around Mendoza which we sought out the following day.