Thursday, March 19, 2009

Meeting Strangers Online

Most of us go about our daily lives doing the same things, eating at the same restaurants, playing with the same friends. We usually don’t meet anyone new unless we step out and do something different or you rely on the same friends to do that and introduce them to you. Why are we such creatures of habit? What prevents us from meeting new people in other ways? From what I have heard from my friends, I believe it to be fear based. What if they are a psycho? What if they are going to kill me in some odd fashion? That would be too bad since I wouldn’t be able to blog about it.

When I was on the road for 120 days, I decided to branch out and meet some strangers that I met on the internet. I even stayed in their house, invited one back to a house I was staying in, slept in the backyard at another’s. In the end, I am still here to talk about it.

I am not finished meeting new people. As a matter of fact, I am going to meet another one next week. It’s in a familiar town but at an unfamiliar house with unfamiliar people. It should be an adventure! As I told a friend about it that lives in this familiar town, she said “Where the hell is this place?” “Who the hell is this person?””What the hell is going on?” That’s usually the natural reaction I get. I look forward to experiencing it and sharing it with you.

So back to the people I met while I was on the road.

The first stranger I met was Jen in Ft. Collins. We met online through a mutual blogger. We tailgated, went to red rocks, laughed, had some killer sushi, broke a bike at New Belgium Brewery, tasted Ft. Collins fine microbreweries, watched rafters, went to the lake, laughed, soaked in the spa, had the best margi, laughed some more, ate at the best breakfast spots, and who can forget the day on her motorcycle? It was the first time since high school (when I was stupid and didn’t care) that I trusted someone enough to get on the back of their bike. We became friends and she has since visited me! I am looking forward to another visit! Tell me when Jen...

While I was in Estes Park Colorado, I received an email from a man that lives in his van. There was someone who alerted him of my journey and he noticed that I was in the area so he dropped me a note. Now this time, I was a bit worried. A single guy living in a van. Hummm…. Not sure about this one. Might be a tad creepy. So, I said...OK, great! We met at Estes Park brewery and hit it off right away. After a meal, I invited him and his van to stay the night where I was. Since then we have kept in touch. We met again in Philadelphia and in California a few times. He has decided to hang up the keys to the van and settle down with his girlfriend in San Francisco. They are both wonderful people.

As I shot back across the country, Cat was another person on my stranger stop tour that I wanted to meet. As with Dave, we didn’t talk on the phone prior to meeting. I pretty much showed up at her house, backed trailie in her backyard and settled in for 5 days. We sang karaoke, we pigged out in the park, rode the Hathawaa trail, ate sushi, toured the sights, went wine tasting, toured the peach farms, and had the best people watching in her little town of Spokane. In between all of our adventures, we laughed and laughed. As with Jen and Dave, she has made the trip here to see what it’s like in California. She is returning again soon.

I would recommend taking a chance. Step out of the routine and do something you might not normally do. I will next week and I hope the trend continues. There are a few strangers out there that I am looking forward to meeting.

What have you done outside of your routine that has changed your life?


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