Backpack networking

Oh, the duckies are just so cute.
Oh, the duckies are just so cute.

Random Observation/Comment #193: I’ve continued to try and find some meaning behind my travels and I’ve realized that, particularly for Europe, the true value of this adventure lies in the history and moral themes throughout the free walking tours in every major city.  I’ve covered the usual suspects, including London, Berlin, Prague, Munich, and Amsterdam, but I hope to explore more areas and write about how each of the stories relate to my personal development.  After all, we study history to analyze our past mistakes so we won’t make similar ones in the future.

Every now and again, I get these urges to restructure my life and make sure that everything is running smoothly.  This has occurred much more frequently in recent times due to this difficult decision of finding an internship or part time job starting in September.  I realize that the first job is the most important and I really want to be able to obtain enough experience in the field to look for that setting.  Other than reading books about “the best jobs in the world,” I’ve tried to use my travels as a way of “finding myself.”  It’s very vague and sounds like completely BS, but there’s actually a mind and method to getting the most out of these traveling experiences.  As a hobby, traveling is wonderful for goals like “to immerse yourself in nature” or “to give yourself the opportunity to become whoever you want to be with strangers.”

I’m not condoning lying to strangers at hostels – on the contrary – I’m suggesting an improvement with your elevator pitch.  By talking about your own life to a stranger and listening to theirs, you’re practically trimming the fat of all your random achievements and telling them who you are (in the least creepy revealing way possible).  There are some unwritten rules to this type of engagement with strangers at hostels, but if you take it as a communications/socializing practice, it really helps make your first impressions bloom.  It’s such a delicate balance between telling people about yourself and sounding arrogant.  There’s this fine line that separates the “wow” and the “he’s got to be full of shit.”

It’s interesting that this trip, more than any of my years in education, has taught me how to be more social.  It’s usually not a problem to talk amongst close friends, but it’s a completely different monster when meeting new people every night.  It becomes a ritual to adjust your personal pitch to different signals and a true art to find that common topic of interest, which sparks the intellectual communication.  By using body language correctly and conveying ideas succinctly, much more is possible than the obvious “picking up of girls.”  This concept of introducing yourself to random drunk hostel stay-ers builds the essentials for a professional world of networking and showing passion towards the things that you love.  It helps you practice which questions to ask to reveal their true opinions about certain subjects.  And most importantly, one must extract the maximum amount of applicable and useful information from the situation when given a limited time.

I firmly believe that everyone must know something about something that I don’t know.  Every conversation should in turn offer some transfer of knowledge that could be used for other conversations or help me make a life changing decision.

It all ties together into the idea of a community.  The reason I love the backpacker/traveling community is the fact that everyone is on their vacation to “find themselves.”  Everyone has that common life pivotal moment.  We’re all just waiting for the experience that gives us the ultimate signal informing us of our next steps forward.   It could be from the next person you talk to or a story from a free tour, so we all stay open-minded.  At least for myself, I wish my sign would just come in the form of a giant arrow.

~See Lemons Practice Network

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