Traveling is an opportunity to experience several lives. All it takes is a good conversation.
The hard part is going toward others. Meeting new people is always uncomfortable, almost scary. Aristotle says humans are social beings, but it’s a half-truth. We are not completely open to new acquaintances. We meet individuals within our social spheres, and we rarely escape it. Have you ever went to a bar by yourself to strike up a discussion? It’s not innate.
Once you overcome this lingering fear, you still need to make the dialogue interesting.
Talking is always about the other. Everybody has a story to tell, and your job is to discover it. That’s my approach to ignite my interest: every encounter is an opportunity to learn something new that can potentially impact your life to a great extent.
People are never boring, you just need to figure out where your interlocutor’s fascination dwells.
Start by figuring out what the person is doing: the daily routine, the career, the hobbies, their family relationships… nothing is mundane.
You can then draw a mental picture of what your contact is good at. Everyone has an expertise in some area. It’s not always about career or emotional intelligence or ideas, it can be about striking events and people. Keep Socrates’ maïeutic in mind. Don’t just listen, don’t use the person’s experiences to talk about yourself - focus your attention on understanding.
When you manage to identify what he/she is passionate about, you’re in for an infinite conversation: it’s an accelerated course on human nature, soak it all up!