So, if anyone knows me well, I am the introverted type. You know, quiet, observant, “likes my space” type person. To a lot of people that means that I am not a social person. On the contrary, I actually enjoy being social, but only to a degree. I retreat to my personal space whenever I have had enough social interactions with people. Traveling is no exception. No matter where you go, you are going to meet people and you will strike up some kind of conversation with them. You may think its scary meeting other travelers, but to be honest, it really isn’t as scary as you think. Of course, people are going to be naturally nervous or scared when they are meeting new people, but it is easier in the sense that you all have something in common. You are in a place that you all are unfamiliar with and that can definitely be a conversation starter! Now, I am going to give you tips on how to be social while you are traveling. Enjoy!!
First, an easy way to be social during traveling is signing up for the activities in the area you are going to. That can range from going to a museum to going on a hiking tour of the surrounding mountains of a city. I guarantee you will find other tourists and you will find something in common with them. You never know, you might just meet a good friend for life. Last year, I was in Mexico on a group outing to go see Mexican Wrestling and I also went on a tour to see how Tequila was made. Overall, they were both very interesting experiences and what made it more fun is that I made friends from other parts of the world. For the Mexican Wrestling part, we all got masks as part of our outing and I was posing with another guy that had the same mask as me. I also got to pose with other wrestlers and eat good food. 😊 On the Tequila tour, they had a Spanish speaking and an English-speaking group. I was one of three people on the English-speaking tour. During the luncheon part of the tour, the three of us started to know each other better and I still keep in touch with them to this day. 9 months after that trip, we all met up in Boston again for another trip!
Secondly, this one may be specific, but definitely worth mentioning. You can go to a restaurant or a bar that has more a communal dining feeling. You can search for these via Google, travel apps, mytripadvisor, and books. Sitting a place with communal dining, especially among other foreigners on an international trip can definitely increase your chances of being social.
When I was in Japan last spring, I went to Omoide Yokocho, which is this really narrow alley of small restaurants and izakayas in the Shinjuku Ward in Tokyo. I stopped at an izakaya for a snack and I was sitting next to this couple from the UK. I asked them for the menu when they were finished and we actually ended talking about our Japan experiences and recommending each other where to go. We didn’t end up being best friends after meeting in that izakaya but it was nice to have company experiencing something for the first time.
Lastly, a way that you can be social during your travels is also simply being approachable to other people. Ways to be approachable is getting off your electronic devices when you are in a public setting, having a smile on your face whenever you are doing something, display more positive body languages by not slouching, not crossing your arms unless it is culturally appropriate, not having that bored look on your face. A great example of this was when I was in Kyoto and I attended a tea ceremony, I was generally being friendly and respectful to everyone I saw there and we all enjoyed each other’s company and had an amazing time without any distractions. After the tea ceremony, someone from Australia asked if she wanted to hang out with me for a little while before heading back to her hotel and I said sure. She had already been in Kyoto for a few days and had agreed to show me around. I honestly thought I wasn’t approachable at first, but I guess she saw how nice I was being during the ceremony and saw me as non-threatening. LOL.
To sum it all up, being social on a trip isn’t crucial, but it is essential because you are around people all of the time. You should be honored that people from other parts of the world want to get to know you and find all about where you come from. 😊 I hope these tips help you be more social and this is Jet Lagged Jaff taking off ‘till next time! Thanks for reading.