“How do you know each other?” This seems to be among the first questions people ask when introduced to mutual friends. A college friend once told me she met my high school friend while in Germany. The two interned at the same company abroad, and were studying in two completely different U.S. cities. They talked about their lives and quickly learned that they had a shared friend (me).
Many years ago, my father traveled abroad to Poland with a group of college friends. It was during that vacation that my parents met. My mom was their tour guide and the rest is history. Today also marks my parents’ wedding anniversary – so here’s to the most wonderful parents who’ve taught me to always be open-minded and embrace cultural differences!
Six Degrees of Separation
Stories of meeting people halfway across the world are becoming increasingly more common. We are no longer limited to geography, but have gained technology that easily puts us in touch. Does your friend live on the U.S. West Coast or in Australia, Africa, South America or Europe? No problem. Skype away! It’s almost as if you’re right there with them.
You’ve probably heard about the “six degrees of separation” theory – “everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world (Wikipedia).” From personal experience, I think the theory has validity. I’ve often wondered how it is possible for people to meet each other thousands of miles away – and discover they share a connection. So how do we meet people? Is it timing? Is it luck? Is it fate? On any given day, you could meet someone who might know your family member, or a close friend. They may have met in college, or during an internship, or via mutual friends, or even while traveling.
Travel can have many great “by-products” – from the people you meet, to the new cuisine you taste-test, to the leaps of faith you take with a new hobby or activity you never think you would try (skydiving, parasailing, painting, photography, etc.).
There is much more to serendipity than people may realize.
- When you travel, be open to meeting and learning from new people, to exploring new grounds, and to experiencing foreign cultures.
- You might be surprised to discover you share a lot in common with a perfect stranger.
- Think about the importance of the people in your life and how you met, and count it as a blessing. People can make all the difference in your life and trigger you to pursue goals you never previously considered.
“Life is full of surprises and serendipity. Being open to unexpected turns in the road is an important part of success. If you try to plan every step, you may miss those wonderful twists and turns. Just find your next adventure – do it well, enjoy it – and then, not now, think about what comes next.” – Condoleezza Rice.
Have you ever met someone who surprisingly was already connected to you somehow (mutual friends)? Is it fate? How else is “who you know” relevant? How does travel influence connectivity?