Last week, my husband and I followed a quiet trail to a hidden spring. The spring (Ein Maimon) was considered to be something of a hidden gem. We didn’t see any cars parked at the trailhead, and we didn’t meet any fellow hikers as we walked along the twisty path.
As we followed the unusual directions (turn left at this cattle gate, climb underneath this fig tree), we were filled with anticipation and expectation of a quiet, beautiful spot in nature that we were going to have all to ourselves.
You can imagine our surprise when we arrived at this little pool in paradise and found a couple of women there, laughing and singing in the water. Of course, we were disappointed at first. But our disappointment quickly turned to joy as we struck up a conversation with this fun pair of strangers.
We sat together, four random human beings in an isolated spot in nature and delved deep into discussion. We spoke about relationships, our backgrounds, and our professions (one was a puppeteer and the other was a professor of linguistics, with a focus on an ancient Jewish Spanish dialect). The conversation was fascinating. And as the sun began to set and evening birdsong filled the trees, we lost track of time. The chill in the air on our wet skin was our signal that it was time to get going.
We experience meetings like these all the time on the trail.
And one thing is certain: it’s not my extroverted nature that makes these interactions such a pleasure. I’m a quiet gal, preferring silence and solitude to the noise of large gatherings. Most people would probably describe me as an introvert. But nevertheless, I find that talking to strangers regularly enriches my life experience.
When two people walk the same trail, they already have one thing in common: a shared love of nature. Or perhaps a shared pursuit of adventure. We’ve bumped into fellow three-day trekkers, explorers who have given us good advice, history buffs, and even friendly strangers who simply shared the shade of a tree and a snack. Every one of these experiences has enhanced our time on the trail.
So, don’t be bashful. Strike up a conversation. Those strangers you see on the trail are worth talking to. After all, relationships are the stuff of life. People are friendly and interesting: speaking to them will enhance your life.
Next time you’re out hiking, disregard your mother’s advice and talk to strangers.