What kind of conversation draws you in?
The shallow small-talks where people tell each other what they “do” in life
- as if 1 occupation summarizes their whole being;
whether they have 2 luxury cars or 3 properties,
Whether they have a girlfriend or boyfriend,
if they tend to go for a run or just go to the gym,
or which day they’d like to catch up but won’t actually?
These questions are examples of "Me-sharing".
They carry very subjective information that stops at where you have spoken your words.
Unless you’re a vain person,
Me-sharing small talk won’t get you very far.
They’re only good ice-breakers that should lead to I-sharing exchanges,
“What is it about Sabrina Claudio’s songs that just feels so good?”
“Do you actually like your job?”
“Would you be interested in answering the Marcel Proust questionnaire?”
“Oh my gosh, these buns look just like the ones we’d make in China!”
The kind of conversation that draws me in
are always intellectual ones and real talks.
Something new and revelatory that I’ve never thought about
something informative without being pushy or propagandic.
Words and messages that seep into our hearts,
rather than appealing to our vanity.
Small talks aren’t repulsive to me,
they just feel rather repetitive, hence boring.
They are essential to making connections,
So I often find ways to respond to small-talks by twisting it around.
In everyday life in New Zealand, you always hear “How are you?”
Apart from saying “Good” which hides so much more behind the word,
I’d often say Hungry instead, which is true most of the time,
Or I’d say "I'm alright~", then proceed to ask something in turn about the person based on how well I may already know them.
When we travel,
“Where are you from?” is the most typical small talk or opener people would use to introduce themselvee.
You'd hear it being asked a lot if you have an accent or look that isn't immediately apparent to people.
In most cases, I was the person hearing this question getting asked.
I suppose people ask it without thinking twice,
which also suggests, it was the laziest thing they could come up with at the time when they met you.
It risks rendering them uninteresting.
That question also often makes me wonder ...
What's the point of this question exactly?
So instead, I say this in response:
"You can take a guess."
The kind of conversation that helps people who have no reason to like each other build connection is what’s been termed as “I-sharing”.
The sharing of deeper level commonalities that go beyond cultures, languages,
or any other diversity that may seem to alienate one person from another.
I-sharing is something you do when you identify similarities despite cultural gaps or language barriers.
I see Wanderreds do it so often with people wearing Madrid soccer team t-shirts.
It’s the easier way to bond with people,
over teams in sports.
Because our brain is wired to have in-group, out-group mentalities.
So by linking ourselves to another over something we can share in common, we find familiarity and draw each other closer by the similarity we share.
I listened to this Google Talk on Spotify titled:
Nobody Understands You and What to Do About it.
And it mentioned the importance of I-sharing.
Because it was a talk held at Google for the Googlers,
It was centred on how to make someone like you at work.
This I-Sharing concept really only reminded me of traveling more.
When we are fortunate enough to make connection with someone.
Those connections we build often come from I-sharing -
The sharing of experiences because of traveling.
I-Sharing comes so naturally when we meet people on our travels.
Our eyes are widened by fresh faces,
We’re excited about making new acquaintance,
curious and intrigued,
free from history and bad experience,
unburdened by the daily conundrum of the same-scenes, same activities.
Don’t you just love the first moments when you meet someone somewhere new?
A good example of I-Sharing is when you talk about a meaningful topic with someone.
Those are the things that reach you at the core,
that makes you see someone clearer,
that highlights who they are,
not just what they seem on the surface.
To show interest in what someone may think or know,
To listen and not just talk,
to observe and take things in.
That’s what makes connections.
The source of the connection is in fact ourselves.
By seeking for what brightens our eyes and opens our heart,
we also become more interesting and more approachable
A person is happy when s/he does not even feel whether time is passing fast or slow.
This week I feel an increasing sense of an awareness of time. It's not great.
Every day I'm so conscious of when my body naturally wakes up,
My alarms tell me when I need to get ready to leave for the train.
When I'm on the train, I count which day of the week this is.
When I arrive at the station, I look at the time to see how late the train was.
When I get to work, I count the clock towards midday.
When it's 12pm - midday - i stand up and go get myself a feed.
When it's Wednesday, I'm glad it's hump day.
When it's 4pm, I shut everything down and I get out of the office.
When I get home, I make myself some food and feed my hungry belly.
When it's 9:30 or 10:00. I take myself to bed.
When it's Thursday, I count 2 more days till the weekend.
When I get home on Friday, I think, "Finally it's the weekend."
I hate it.
I don't prefer this extreme awareness of time.
my sense of time consists of:
I'm starving, must get something to eat.
Wow...almost sunset...Where can I go to watch it.
It's getting dark, should I go see the city lights or take some night photography & hit the sack?
Life is simple.
Life feels fuller and longer.
That's just it.
I don't know or care what day of the week it is,
what time of the day it is.
Time is incredibly irrelevant unless I'm catching the train or a flight to go somewhere.
every day feels more amazing, more full of memories,
each day is lived longer, and more.
time freezes in specific moments,
and stretches out in your consciousness.
Though clock may be ticking,
but it's got nothing to do with me.
Moments become years of memories for the future.
Peace and happiness fill my heart with elation.
Nothing else matters.
Not even my life at home, not even my puppy.
It is just me and there and then.
Nothing else comes in to the moment
but what I see, where I am, and the joy I feel.
1 of the happiest moments and most fulfilled hours of my trip
was when I didn't take my camera with me.
I don't know why it's always when the camera isn't on me,
but it just is like that sometimes. It happens to be that way.
This place in Luxembourg City was the 1st place I went,
and the last place I went again just to remember it.
I was so happy when I arrived there on my 1st day,
and I was so incredibly fulfilled
and so bloody grateful
when I saw this amazing sight under the moonlight on my final night.
It was not like time stopped or anything,
but it just became time immemorial.
I cannot tell you how happy I was when I first came to this spot.
There was No one.
The entire place was mine.
It was incredible because before this, I was in extremely touristy Belgium.
It's almost impossible to find a place you can enjoy alone,
except down quiet streets in Bruges of all places.
To finally be able to be alone
âand enjoy an eyeful of castle-like city that Luxembourg is
was incredibly elating.
I was joyous.
My heart could burst from happiness.
I fell immediately in love with Luxembourg City.
After I'd been to the Grund,
walk all around the lower city, and back up to overlook the Grund from the top,
I was certain:
this place is it.
I could live here for sure.
It's like Wellington but 100,000x more historic and gorgeous.
I absolutely loved it there.
And then you have what's prided as - Fiji time.
Where you literally may lose the sense of time and
everything is just as delayed as it possibly can.
No hurry, no rush.
Everything is late anyway,
why you worry about it.
Discard all your chaos and rushing mindset.
That's the life I want to live.
Where days are nothing but
and the in-between.
I was quite keen on seeing this kites festival
because I thought I would be able to take some great landscape wide angle shots here.
But it didn't turn out to be the case.
This one was the only landscape shot I was able to get.
Because the set-up was such that there was a line that stops people from getting close to the kites,
and the tides were coming in strong on the right.
I was wearing boots at the event,
I wasn't prepared to wade into deep water with splashing waves with my camera bag (sling-shoulder one) on me.
If I had worn no stockings and no boots, but jandals instead,
I wouldve been able to go further into the water on the right and took some better angled photos.
Instead, I was contrained to the little space right along the makeshift fence-line.
I walked closely along the line, and took mostly vertical shots with my long-lens.
I wasn't able to get the wide angle horizontal shot with lots of kites in the frame like I envisioned.
It was still quite a cool event.
There were plenty of kites on display to put you in awe.
I especially loved those special ones with Maori designs on them.
Those you won't get to find anywhere else on the planet.
They were probably custom-prints sent through to online stores and made to the creators' fancy.
They were unique and beautiful to the eyes.
I definitely recommend going to this kite festival if you've never been before.
It was also quite a lovely thing to enjoy for the public after all the atrocities that took place just before the weekend in the North Island.
A bit of positivity to relieve people's hearts from all the anxiety and sadness.
The last few days have been the most difficult for kiwis in a long time.
The Cyclone had brought so much wind and rain that houses have been lost due to flood and landslide.
People have had to evacuate to their rooftop,
and waited for the rescue crew to take them away from rising water.
Some have had to hold on to logs and trees for dear life.
Many farm animals have drowned.
Cows, horses, sheep, pigs...chickens...
People are having the worst time up north and along the east coast.
They have lost all they have.
Some have even lost their family members.
I don't know what this means for our near future,
the next year, and the year after.
But this isn't looking good.
Whether you think this is climate change,
or that you're a denialist and believe that this is just a natural cycle of the climate,
this is not good.
The worst thing that could happen to someone,
aside from illness and death, is losing one's home.
One can be starving and thirsty for days,
but to lose shelter - we don't manage well as people.
I cannot even just say "my heart goes out to those people whose lives and homes have been destroyed by the cyclone".
Because that doesn't contribute to anything at all.
What I do know is,
Flooding wouldn't have happened if we had kept all the forests, instead of cutting all the trees down to turn them into farmlands.
If every one and every business/manufacturer actually cared
and did every little thing they could to minimise waste
and used all natural materials for all things produced for mass consumption,
if we stopped cutting down forests and trees,
but kept all the trees alive and deep-rooted,
nature would have come across as much more merciful than it now is.
This year I'm looking for one of those "ohmygosh" "oh you're right...." breakthrough moments in life.
Though Tonga was my 1st south pacific tropical island,
Visiting Samoa and going around Savai'i and Upolu with Auntie Savili and Grandma Netina was what kick-started the change in my life.
The amount of gratitude and depth of indebtedness I feel towards Rachel's family in Napier & Wailele,...
nothing can ever repay them for all that they've taught me.
This year I just wanna meet some one or some people in my travels that may say something casually but definitely give me moments of epiphany.
The Aha ...moment where something they say might just make something click inside of me and know what I'll need to do to change for the better.
In some sense, I'm looking for those Guru like characters
Someone who would says things honestly in their way, without deliberation, or intentionally drop a word for me that will benefit me...
There have been a few people who have done that to me,
They've in their own ways have changed my life
I listened to their words, their comment, their suggestion,
And I acted on it.
Those very few people I am grateful for for the rest of my life.
For the few words they said ,
But had a positive impact on my life.
Those are the people that I will always cherish and respect,
They know what they're saying,
And they said something that enlightened me in a significant way.
I know we often travel just to become unknown , but we also want to be found and be truly known by someone.
I don't even look for that anymore.
I'm at the stage where I'm fully content with simply knowing myself. And I have found myself in myself.
I don't really expect another person to know me or care for me the way I can know and care for myself.
But, I do still seek for that guru person.
I always keep my ears out for words that would give me wonder.
I hope I'll meet someone like that this year.
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