I consider myself lucky. I know tons of great people scattered all across the United States. I made these people priorities in choosing my destinations on my cross country trip. These people took me into their homes, cared for me and showed me true hospitality. My only hope is that one day I can return the favor in the future. These were the types of people that I needed for my trip.
I found that being open on this trip made it easier to connect with strangers. This is a risk that some women face when traveling alone. Not everybody you meet will always have the best intentions. But if you use your better judgment and play it smart, you can still engage with new people. I found this to be one of the most rewarding experiences on my trip. Let it be random bar stool conversations or people you meet in a national park. Each individual will affect the environment of your trip.
…are full of advice.
…want to buy you a beer in celebration of your trip.
…want to play tour guide.
…are willing to tell you where to have dinner. Locals always know the best spots.
…offer to take a snap shot of you when they see you awkwardly trying to do it yourself.
…have a spare bed or couch to crash on for a night or two.
…make an awesome homemade meal.
…can help you navigate the public transportation system.
…can speak Spanish. This was extremely helpful when I was in Southern California.
…People that are genuinely excited for you and want to contribute something positive to your travels.
Any more specifically…
…The cute Swedish boy that makes you pancakes at his campsite in Northern California before he goes his way and you yours.
…The kid who’s traveling way more hardcore than you. I met a boy in Asheville, NC that literally quit his job, hopped on a train with his savings in his pocket just to see what would happen.
…The Chinese family that asks you to take their photo in Yellowstone National Park. They were so thrilled when I was able to say “you’re welcome” in Cantonese. My years working in a Chinese Restaurant back home paid off in this moment.
…The seasoned veterans in the hot tub in Vegas. They have the best stories.
…My friend’s roommate in Denver Colorado made the best Bloody Marys. Crucial.
Taking in the people you meet on your trip is just as important as taking in the sights. The locals are full of knowledge and advice. Other travelers are great to connect with and use as support systems. I found connecting with friends and family on Facebook was very helpful in planning my trip. Also, I was told about couchsurfing.org. I didn’t use this service, but I have heard great things about it. Open yourself up to the Universe. It often times surprised me.