Life on the Open Road

Life on the Open Road
Showing posts with label rendezvous. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rendezvous. Show all posts

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Awesome Expectations

I had a really cool realization this evening after an experience on the beach. I have fun, interesting, new rendezvous every time I go out. The same way I have the expectation of meeting friendly people everywhere, I have the expectation of these exciting experiences. I adore the variety, diversity and range of them. I love the brief conversations or moments with animals or whatever it may be. This week alone, I’ve had several and it has me wanting to venture out even more often because it is so fun and satisfying. I love time and physical space to myself and I love connecting with others. I love being awake and I love being asleep. The ebb and flow and ease of it all is enjoyable. 

That said, here are some of the examples of these rendezvous of late. 

I was driving an EZ Go (that doesn’t have a windshield) and a butterfly came right at me. I ducked so it wouldn’t hit my face and had a good laugh. I love seeing so many butterflies happily fluttering around. 

A different location and butterfly that same day. Kudos if you can spot it there, somewhat central and left. 
Remember that post about my evening beach walk where I said it was an eagle I’d spotted, then corrected it as a hawk? It WAS an eagle. I saw one at the beach again today and got some pictures as it stood eating something it had caught. That was cool because I knew it was an eagle and not a hawk and now know I can be sure there are eagles here, at the beach. 

Eagle, right? It was big! I zoomed in quite a bit so as to keep my distance and leave it be. 
I have had some very nice short conversations with people who have had lovely things to say and have complimented me on some things I’ve been doing. Without getting into the specifics of that, I take a lot of pride in what I do and to have multiple people notice that and comment was incredibly fulfilling. 

I love excellent customer service and people who are kind and professional and that is always nice to meet with. I got some propane the other day when the weather was grey and storms had been passing through and this particular place is one I like returning to because, despite it being a fill station I need to go the “wrong” way into for them to reach my LP fill, they are always friendly and professional plus I can pay via credit card right there and the price is fair. Yeah, some places may be cheaper, I haven’t looked. I like paying for good service and the ease of it being nearby and I’m happy to return to this place. I was told they will not fill if there is lightning as that is considered dangerous for them. Thankfully the rain stopped for the bit of time it took and she got exactly the amount I asked for in! 

And then there is this evening when I was walking the beach, closer to the end of the walk. I saw some folks fishing and recognized a shark fin. The reeling it in was also noticeable as I’ve seen other-than -fish caught enough times at this point and I know what this looks like. It was a nice sized shark. I watched from afar, wondering what they’d do. Long story short, they tagged it, measured it, and released it. I took one picture since my camera is full and that was all I could get. I passed them but then went back and one saw I was going to ask a question. I asked if they’d tagged the shark and he said yes, they are volunteers with NOAA. He then explained that they get postcards from NOAA and, when they catch and tag the shark, they send the stats to them for tracking. This isn’t the GPS kind of tracking. I thought that was interesting and I was glad to have this experience as it was totally new to me. I also learned it was a lemon shark! I said I thought it was a great white and he laughed and said no. I know what great whites look like and hadn’t really looked at lemon sharks before. I can clearly see now that they are rather different and now I know how to tell them apart. 

Lemon shark. 
So… I have more to share about sharks at some point. For now, I will simply say that during a beach walk the other day I saw a fin very nearby me, close to where I stood with just my feet in the water. It was a shark moving swiftly and deliberately. I had thought it was a great white that was young but larger than the babies I’d been seeing. I now think it was a lemon shark. 

I love the beach! 

I love having these experiences. I love having awesome expectations for fun and satisfaction to be a part of my days in moments like these. I love learning new things and making connections. I love walking the beach and I have the expectation of enjoying it every single time. Each night especially, when I walk it, I look around so thrilled to be in such a beautiful place. It's one of the easiest places I know to be. I love it. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Starting and Joining Conversations as a Solo Traveler

Lush green in the awesome woods of Vermont, Summer 2015.
I admit that conversation generally comes easily to me and I guess the fact that people approach me so often makes it even easier. For example, a few days ago I was at a park and a skater came up to me. We spoke for somewhere between three to four hours and had a really great conversation. It was thoughtful, insightful, and awesome! I think we were both incredibly happy with the encounter and I was so glad he'd approached me. The way he did so was how I would, too; friendly and open. We are like minded in our approach to life and being that that is not the most commonly found one, connecting like this was a lot of fun. I look forward to more experiences like it.
In my post "Alone and Not Lonely" about traveling solo, I ended saying striking up a conversation can be easy and that a solo traveler may be even more welcome into a conversation. I imagined some people reading that and thinking how they haven’t found it to be the case. I know it isn’t for everyone. I thought I’d share a few ways, like the one above, I have experienced it.
First, people have noticed I am alone and approach me whether they are alone or with others. I toured a state home once with a woman and her adult son(probably around my age) and we were all talking before the tour, during the tour as we discussed the rooms, and later when we were outside and happened to see each other again. Situations like this have happened various places and could be a way to meet people, if you wanted to explore a place with others. You’re all there to see the place so that gives you something to talk about.
Second, kids approach me. I love this. I take it as a good sign just as I do when happy animals approach. The conversations I have had with kids have been interesting and fun. I love their honesty and perspectives. I love their questions and ease with learning more.
Third, older folks. I have enjoyed conversations about topics such as older technology(a counting machine that gave you an arm ache because you were pulling the handle hard all day), weather and outdoor activities, traveling, and whatever else. Their perspectives and experiences can be really interesting to hear about and I feel like, when they notice I am genuinely interested, it brings an excitement of sorts. It’s not just because someone wants to listen, it is because someone much younger wants to listen. More on that in a moment and a note: unless you're one of the oldest people alive reading this right now and "older folks" aren't really to be found, the actual ages don't matter much as "older folks" and "younger folks" are relative for everyone.
There are people my parents age who treat me like I get the sense they do their own children. One night I asked if a couple heading back to their car could get out passed me all right since I parked slightly angled and the response I got was hilarious. Something about them being "old" but they could handle it. It was said in jest and I said, “Have a good night.” We smiled and went separate ways.
Then there are people closer to my own age who immediately treat me as an equal. They talk to me like they would a friend, strike up conversation easily and, if I am in a place where there are a lot more older(and maybe even younger folks, too), seem to give a feeling of letting loose a bit and relaxing. No need to be proper, I suppose. Some of these conversations are the most comfortable. I really enjoy that aspect of it, that it is so easy and they feel they can just be themselves.  A funny thing is they also seem to curse more.
Even if you feel you stand out, you also fit in. (Another picture from Vermont in Summer 2015.)
It is amazing how differently people can feel and behave and speak depending on who they are with and how they perceive them. How you feel influences your interactions with them. Ever been in a place where someone is obviously unhappy about something yet smiles when noticing you anyway? In general, I have found it easy to interact with people of various ages, races, ethnicities, and backgrounds. Why limit yourself to one demographic? Why not talk with that happy child who wants to chat? Why not have that conversation about skipping golf today due to the weather? Why not engage in these brief and fun moments of connection?
I’m not talking about forming life long friendships here. These are the moments that make it fun to be IN THE MOMENT. Traveling is about movement, not building roots and settling down. The five sentence conversation about root beer floats while on the check out line, the question and answer about the remote control boats, hearing about the squirrels who climb into vehicles and chew on wires causing thousands of dollars worth of repairs needing to be done before the car is even sold. All sorts of connections with all sorts of places, events, peoples.
If you’re traveling alone, hey, even if you are out and about during your normal routine and you just feel like chatting, be open to it, relax, and see who comes your way. If you don’t like the person, just walk away.
It's a big world, it's a small world. It's a perfect sized world in each moment with lots of open road and opportunities! (Photo is Upstate New York in Summer 2015, near Lake George.)
Addendum: In various places I have also been the one to start a conversation. I do it pretty much the same way those who approach me do. I just do it. I love learning new things and especially when a person has a passion for something, it is easy to ask questions and get them excitedly talking about whatever (their store, this location, art, museum, book, something they are buying or doing). If there is no sincere interest on my part, however, I probably won’t do it. The timing, the place, the vibe all come into play. This is inspired action. If you don’t feel inspired, it is best not to engage. If and when you do, speak up!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Alone and Not Lonely

Birds of a feather... happy birds on rocks in Lady Lake, FL . 2016
Solo travel is capable of being incredibly fun. There are a lot of reasons a person may venture out alone and, whether it is fully preference or not, there are plenty of opportunities to socialize if you want to.
I really love going to festivals, for example. There are generally crowds of onlookers, commentators, presenters, and performers who are ready and willing to share in the experience. Whether watching a parade, sampling at vendors, playing skeeball, or dancing to the live band, companionship potential is there. It may be fleeting like a conversation about ice cream in the freezer section of the store, or questioning what kind of seed is on the ground with a police offer on the street in passing (yes, he really stopped me to ask and neither of us knew what it was), or even the small child who notices you over his shoulder, gives a glance, then smiles and says, "Hi!" while walking by a butterfly garden. I have had many such experiences. Once a woman stopped me in a store to tell me all about her dancing history and the celebrities who had pulled her up on stage to dance with them at concerts. Two kids stopped playing ball at the park to say hello. I sampled all kinds of raw honey at a shop and discussed bee keeping, flowers and flavors, infusing, and more with folks there, both shoppers and sellers. 
These may seem small and brief and often they are, however, they are so in the moment. Had I not been there at that time, the conversation wouldn't have happened. It was unplanned and enjoyable. 
Then there are the usuals like friends and family who are increasingly easy to contact regardless of locale. And, if you are in a place longer, you may build a sense of community within that location through more frequent encounters like joining a group of a like interest. Art museums are a great place for conversations. Libraries can be, too. If you are traveling with others as a solo, you likely have some things in common through the mode of transportation or location interest or whatever the case may be. Striking up a conversation can be easy in instances like that. Just join in. 
The world is full of interesting, unique people just as it is places and, when you travel solo, you may even be more welcome into conversation with them. It's fun!