Meeting the Locals

Often times when I travel, the most memorable experiences are those unexpected, spontaneous interactions with the “locals”. Maybe I’m sitting across from them at a dinner table learning about local cuisine, maybe I wander into the courtyard of their family home to have freshly fermented chicha, maybe I’m running down the beach with them to see a leatherback sea turtle nesting on the beach by daylight instead of in the darkness of night. What I don’t expect is to have one of those experiences with a US local sitting next to me on my flight from Denver to Atlanta en route to Africa for my first safari. Today, that’s exactly what I got.

I’ll call this US local Scott. Scott was sitting next to me on my flight to Atlanta. We were seated in the exit row just behind first class and started talking about our luck with that ever-precious resource on flights – leg room. The conversation quickly turned to sustainability in travel, trends in the eco-conscious movement, marketing/branding for nonprofits, modern agricultural methods in the US, among other topics. I was engaged the entire flight, talking and then listening to Scott’s perspective.

You never quite know where the conversation is going to go the first time around with someone new. Is it possible you have some thing, many things, in common? Could you possibly have the same ideals, goals, and dreams? Will you connect? Isn’t it just that, the connection, you’re looking for when you wander across the globe to far away places to interact with the locals? Thanks, Scott, for the connection to one of my locals. The trip is already off to a memorable start and I can’t wait to see what Africa brings!