From Strangers to Friends: A Benefit of Group Travel
As I board the Wells Gray Tours coach for a drive to the VancouverAirport I greet everyone wondering who I will connect with on this trip. I smile as I move down the aisle and I am always relieved to see name tags as I know it will help me get to know my fellow passengers quickly.
I scan the faces looking for a familiar face as I often find there is someone I have met on a previous tour but it is okay if they are all strangers as they won’t be for long. Elton John’s song about Friends always comes to mind on the first day of every trip. If you are not familiar with it here is a link. www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zuzi-yH9VLo&feature=kp
Here is what I have learned about the strangers I set out with and the friends I return home with:
I have learned it is okay if I don’t connect with every traveller on the tour. We all come from different back grounds; have different interests and different expectations from each tour experience. What we do all have in common is a sense of adventure and a need to explore the world we live in and that itself builds a bond.
Group travel provides a venue for encouraging conversations. Travelling alone we may get lost in our own thoughts and perceptions of a people, culture or destination. But travelling in a group we are exposed to different views, others asking questions we may not have thought of and the joy of a shared curiosity.
The sharing of travel experiences will expand the possibilities of travel to destinations I may not have thought of or may have had reservations about visiting. Listening to my fellow travellers talk about their hands on knowledge of a particular destination or attraction such as zip-lining or kayaking may be just the nudge I need to try something new.
Learning for me is a valuable component of travel and to be able to share the learning experiences with fellow travellers adds meaning and fun to my overall experience. Meeting over meals and sharing the days’ adventures is always a highlight for me.
Friendships are meaningful regardless of how they come about and as Elton John says in his song Friends, “For friends are found on every road”. So as you scan your fellow travellers be open to the new friendships and the possibilities that await you. Regardless of the age span or demographics of the group, make sure you take time to get to know everyone. Each person you meet will provide something that will expand your view and life experience.
Written by: Joan Niemeier
Joan and Vivienne. New besties, they met on the President’s Panama Canal Cruise