Stay Open to Random Encounters 

Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.”  I’d like to add to that: “It’s about the people you meet on the journey!”

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I have encountered amazing human beings in the past month traveling around and I’d like to not only mention some of them but also thank them all for the shared smiles, the positive energy, the advice, and the love! If you were to ask me about tips on meeting new people when traveling, I’d say – don’t be afraid to use your smile. Don’t be afraid to say “Hi” first. And look people in the eyes. Positivity goes a long way!

To the fellow blogger who I met at Aviano Cafe in Denver – thank you for giving me the rundown of good coffee shops and outdoor destinations in Denver and Boulder, as well as sending me to RiNo (River North) to explore authentic graffiti street art.

To the guy from the Wilderness Exchange in Denver – thank you for chasing me out the door and down the street and showing me another pair of polarized ski goggles in teal color. I was amazed at your commitment to customer service and providing the best outdoor experience.

To the little naked old lady who we met at Orvis Hot Springs in Ouray – thank you for telling us about your pottery art and recommending we check out Black Canyon and Buena Vista. We had no idea those places existed and they proved to be spectacular!

To the buck hunters from the Midwest who we met at Last Dollar Saloon in Telluride (before we spent our last dollar) – thank you for sharing your once-in-a-life-time elk hunt story and entertaining us with lovely conversation and strong whiskey all night.

To the local artist, musician, and one of a kind character Sunday – thank you for giving us the history and legends of Telluride.

To the alchemist from the Medicine Ranch in Telluride – thank you for allowing us in your “kitchen” and urging us to try all your potions, elixirs, and balms.

To the high school girl at Silverthorne Visitors Center – thank you for not letting me leave without all possible maps and hot springs brochures without me even asking for assistance.

To the park rangers at Howelsen Ski Area – thank you for not only NOT arresting me for trespassing and climbing the ski jumps but also for showing me the entire training facility.

To my host in Steamboat Springs who was a friend of a friend of a friend (yes, I was very nervous before my visit) – thank you for your kindness, hospitality, attention, time, and spot on recos in the area. (Also thank you for not murdering me 😉)

To the cowboys from the cattle drive in Grant County – thank you for your patience, for answering all my questions, and for introducing me to your ranch owners in the coffee shop down the road.

To the Swedish family from the guided tour at Secret Caverns, NY – thank you for approaching me and welcoming me into your circle, just for that day…or maybe for a bottle of wine one day…or for a snowboarding trip out West. One never knows when real connections will form.

To my hosts at Cuyahoga Valley National Park – thank you for being amazing human beings; birthing 6 kids, raising 15 grandkids, and welcoming another 5 foster children into your family. And as if that wasn’t enough, thank you for going to a remote island off the coast of Panama to volunteer and host Red Cross workers who were helping the native locals with water borne illnesses. The world needs more people like you!

To the Grandpa at Szalay’s Farm in Cuyahoga National Park, OH – thank you for feeding me fresh cut papaya when the farm was completely closed for the season and I couldn’t buy coffee or breakfast anywhere within 5 miles radius.

To the guy at Thunderhead gold mine/underground Falls in South Dakota – thank you for giving me the “once in a lifetime experience” of entering and exploring the mine. Thank you also for drawing me a map of all the places to see off the beaten path in Black Hills and advising me how to visit the tourist attractions without paying the entrance fee. Your kindness won’t be forgotten!

 

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