Jason and I went to a party this past weekend where we didn’t know more than 5 of the hundred or so other revelers that also attended.
On the drive home we saw a fellow limping along side his bike as he approached a long hill so we stopped to see if we could help out. He had twisted his knee and, unable to ride, was resorting to hitch-hiking to get home to Calgary. We rearranged our belongings, stuffed his bike in the back and drove him the three hours home.
This comes on the heels of seeing a tweet on Twitter the other week from a UK couple who were coming to Canada to start a 5 month bike tour in Calgary along with their 2 year old son. I asked if they had a place to stay and, when they said no, offered to pick them up from the airport and give them a place to work through the jetlag.
One of the greatest things we learned, while we were traveling, is that people are generally kind and want to help out. Having been treated so well during our time away we vowed that when we returned we would step out further and help others.
We talked about it a lot; how we would join the Couchsurfing community, try to meet some of the people we’ve know online, and generally just expose ourselves to meeting more interesting people. But it’s easy to stay wrapped up in our little cocoon.
Like any great movement our talk finally reached the tipping point and the time came to start walking the talk.
Jason and I are a little on the introverted side and, while I love being around people and in the center of the action, I also love just being alone and watching the world go by. I find small talk difficult and would rather be doing something that leads to conversation rather than just trying to have a conversation.
I read somewhere once that in order for change to happen the pain of being where you are has to be greater than the pain of change. I like it. Of course pain is relative and, in this case, is definitely not physical! But I had decided that I wanted to step out more and reached a point where I would be angry with myself if I looked back later and regretted that I hadn’t tried harder.
The tweet from Becki came at just the right time and I fired off an invitation before I had a chance to think. Quite frankly I was relieved when she didn’t reply as I had no idea how it was going to work with the three of them in our small apartment. And then, the night before they were to fly, she emailed asking if the invitation was still open. Well, I couldn’t say no at that point could I? And I’m so glad I didn’t! They are a lovely couple and, despite their crippling jetlag, we had some marvelous chats about stepping out and adventure and seeing your dreams come true. They are nearing Vancouver now on their epic bike trip and are themselves walking the talk and pushing themselves every day.
The party invitation was a generous inclusion to a marvelous 40th birthday party of someone we have only met a few times. Gathering close to a hundred of her family and friends Anita hosted a weekend to remember. We entered knowing only a few people but left with a hundred new friends. Everyone was super friendly and would simply walk up, introduce themselves, tell us how they knew Anita and asked us about our story. Amazing. We had a fabulous time and were honored to be part of Anita seeing her dream come true. No, not turning 40 silly! Anita arranged the party to have her favorite singer Valdy perform for her. A long time dream that she made happen…but more on that another day.
And finding Dillon on the side of the road was serendipitous. Having just spent the weekend in the company of kindness and being newly intrigued about bike touring it wasn’t hard to stop and see what was up. Not only were we able to help him out but he turned out to be one terribly interesting fellow. Having traveled to many of the places that we have and with an outlook on life that favors gathering experiences rather than possessions, our conversation was easy and varied as we rolled over the foothills back home.
And so we will keep trying to walk the talk. It still won’t be easy but we have some early wins that will keep us wanting to step out of our comfort zone to learn more about people and selfishly enrich our own experiences.