Being Curious and Unexpected Gifts
On a recent trip to the wonderful city of Amsterdam, I had arrived a few days early to enjoy the city on my own and adjust to the six-hour time change. I learned from past travels I just don’t do well flying overnight with that time zone difference and then going right into days of meetings (listening to my own self- care advice). Briefly I wondered how I would do alone over the weekend in a city I didn’t know too well, especially how I would be eating alone while the world seems to be in couples and groups. So, I took a deep breath, and decided to be curious, learn something new and just have some fun.
The weather was really good for walking around and I got right out to walk the cobblestoned streets, gazing at the incredible old houses on the beautiful canals. There were still tons of bright flowers trailing down flowerboxes and along the water. The only caution I had was not being run over by the thousands of bicycles whizzing by – I learned quickly that they had the right of way. I feel the trip was successful in a lot of ways – an important one being that I didn’t get hit!
My curiosity paid off in a way I didn’t expect. One day I found this wonderful little seafood restaurant which I wandered into. I usually have a little pang when I enter on my own and the host asks, ‘How many?” And I answer “One”. I was grateful this time that they didn’t say “JUST one?” but I learned to give them a big smile and “Yep – just me!”
I was seated and noticed, after I was almost finished with lunch, that there was another woman there eating on her own, so I got up and went over and said hello and talked about how delicious the food was – as she was also eating the oysters. We started to chat and found that we had a lot in common even though we lived on different continents – me in the US and Jane in Tanzania. We had daughters, ran our own businesses, were involved in giving back, know loss, and enjoy exploring. We agreed to meet for lunch the next day and felt we had known each other for years. It turns out she runs an incredible business running tours and safaris in Africa – something I have never done. She is also involved in Positive Impact Work – “empower(ing) crucial wilderness areas in East Africa, benefitting people and nature alike.” We talked and talked, she introduced me to her daughter who is such a talented artist, and know that I have found a wonderful new friend.
All of which bring me back to Being Curious – if I had just stayed around my hotel, not gotten out and introduced myself to others, I would not have had such a rich and nourishing experience. I encourage you to do the same – getting out of our usually comfort zone brings unexpected gifts.
(You can see Jane’s work and business at www.asiliaafrica.com)