The different aspects of traveling can be somewhat daunting to some. Between getting to and from a place, to dealing with arrangements and the such, it can be far more stressful than one hopes. Alas, when you get to your destination, hopefully things will change and it’s relaxing and stress free.
But then you think about all the people you might come across. Does that add stress? For many it can. In this world, there’s an estimated 7.7 billion people. It took more than 200,000 years of humanity to reach 1 billion – and then it took only 100 more years to reach 7 billion.
Think about that for a while. Crazy, right?
Anyway, the people are what can make a trip really fun, all depending where you are and what you are doing. If you are camping in the middle of the woods, maybe you don’t see anybody. But when you are in areas where there are a lot of people, it’s inevitable you will deal with people.
And each person has a story.
Years ago, I decided to attempt the 100 Strangers Project. Basically, it’s a project where you meet a stranger, take a photo of them and write a little something up. The thing is, I did it mainly through Flickr and it was really slow. I tended to forget about the project, or I forgot to bring something with me to give the people of which I was taking their photo.
And it’s been four years since I added to that project.
My recent vacation took me to the Pacific Northwest, where we ventured into Canada and hit four states. Last year, two of us did an epic geocaching trip that covered nine states in seven days.
Along the way, we met a lot of interesting people from all walks of life.
Talk about missed opportunities.
Let me tell you about a couple of people from this year. First, we were walking about the famed Lake Louise in Banff National Park. A few times I saw people using a Canon camera, so I offered to let them try my 8-14 fisheye wide angle. It’s a great lens in situations like that and I always like seeing the reaction of people using it. One couple specifically kept saying “Wow!” They were younger and seemed intrigued. There was a language barrier – they were speaking French with a little English. What a great spot it would have been for this project.
On our way back to the shuttle area, we saw a girl down near the water, taking a photo of her hand. I realized that she must have just been proposed to, so we stopped and asked. Turns out they were from Connecticut (not far from where I went to grad school) and he had proposed a bit ago in a different spot in the park. She was taking photos of the ring with her phone. We had a nice chat, offered up a couple of hikes we had done, and moved along. But there was definitely a story there.
How great of a 100 Strangers Project addition would that have been?
I have different feelings when it comes to meeting people on travels. Once again, take into mind the 7.7 billion people in this world – and how many of these people you will never see; and for many you do see, think about how many you pass by and will never see again. Then think about how many people you actually interact with and it’s staggering how few that is in the big scheme of the world.
So why don’t we take advantage of the few we actually interact with to maybe find a little more about them?
With that in mind, I’m going to embark on the 100 Strangers Project once again.
But I’m going to start from scratch.
The goal is going to be to start seeing the stories these people have to tell. I’ll come up with some basic questions and have them with me when I’m out and about. I’ll start looking to carry my camera more as I think it looks better when trying to do a project like this if not just using a phone camera (though if I get the new iPhone, I may just want to use that …).
I’ve found, as I get older, I’m a bit more introverted. Dealing with people really exhausts me, and there are times I want to crawl up and not deal at all. I think a project like this helps one get out of a comfort zone. I’m going to get some business cards made up with the blog address, logo, and all that info so I can hand it to the person when I do this.
This last trip I took made me realize how fun this project could have been. I can think of no fewer than 10 or so people I could have easily added to a project like this and who would have been wonderful subjects. Opportunities like that are lost and likely never to come back again, so it’s time to prepare to make sure these opportunities aren’t skipped.
It’s about people.
It’s about telling a story.
Hopefully, this will be a fun and long project. It could take years to complete, but I’d like to get to 100 – and then some.