Be Kind. Be Present. Be Connected.

There is a simple joy comes with connecting to those around us in our everyday, offline life. A smile, a greeting, an unexpected conversation can brighten your day and make you feel more connected to the world around you, no matter where you happen to be.

My last post (a quick overview of the House Build I recently participated in) just scratched the surface of the connections made that weekend in Mexico. With no international phone plan and no urge to seek the wifi password, I talked, I listened and I engaged with 40 people who were strangers to me just a few days before. This group of new friends continues to inspire me daily with their words and actions to make this world a better place. The funny thing is, I ended up with this amazing group of kind-hearted individuals by talking to a stranger in a foreign country.

I was traveling in Cambodia with my friend Jen and we decided to stop and get a foot massage. If you've never been to SouthEast Asia, first of all, go! Second of all, massages are fantastic and very cheap, at $3 an hour, they quickly became a daily ritual whenever possible. They are also convenient as there are massage parlors on every corner. We had never been to this particular massage parlor before, and we never went again, but during my foot massage that day, a man named Mike was sat next to me.

Neither of us were on our phones (although wi-fi during foot massages was a popular past-time as we didn't have international plans and I often used it as a time to check in, post pictures, etc) so we started talking about our travels, where we lived, what we enjoyed about the country and more.  Before we left we connected to wi-fi to exchange instagram handles, he warned me I'd see a lot of handstands (true!) and I warned him he'd see a lot of sunsets (also true.) Through that connection we realized we were to cross paths in another city, during which time he told me about the House Build opportunity, how it saves lives, changes lives and creates lasting bonds within the build group. Based on the limited conversations I'd had with Mike and similar projects I'd served on before, I knew the odds of this being a fantastic experience were in my favor, so I said yes and signed up at the airport before leaving the country.

Who knows where that one conversation and connection will take me - so far it has introduced me to several amazing organizations and people in California and beyond. It has inspired me to unplug, connect and engage offline while using the wonderful world of technology to learn more and stay connected to those near and far online.

I encourage you to make a conscious effort to have more in-person conversations. They can be with friends, with strangers, with strangers who become friends while waiting for your coffee, whatever the case may be, I promise you it will have an impact on your life. The more people I talk to, the more I want to meet. The more stories I hear, the more I want to learn. The more I connect, the more I yearn to make connections.

Be Kind. Be Present. Be Connected. See where it takes you.