How to meet new and interesting people while traveling or in your hometown.

An older couple recently told us, “People who sit at the bar live longer.” Of course, they were sitting next to my husband and I at the bar, 73-years-old, married for 52 years, and seemed to still be in love as ever.

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This made me reminisce on the most memorable people we’ve met while traveling - charter boat captains, multi-millionaire entrepreneurs, retired Armed Forces, we met them all at a restaurant bar! To travel and see the world is great. Landscape and architecture are beautiful, the flavors of different regions are diverse, the activities available to us are unique. But the PEOPLE are what gives each place life. The people are the energy.

We remember the Aloha spirit of Hawaii, the smiles and generosity emanating from the locals. In California, the laid-back attitudes and soak-it-all-in vibes. Indulge and take it easy in the Caribbean. The bar is a meeting place and why we choose to sit there in every restaurant in the past 8 years of our marriage.

Is long life directly correlated to the people you meet, the experiences you learn about, the advice given, the comradery you feel after you connect with someone on a deeper level? Connection with other humans is our life blood.
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I remember when I finally decided to cross the Atlantic. What held me back for so long was the fear in not knowing different languages and how to navigate new countries. When I made the decision to join my friend in a two-month backpack adventure throughout Europe, I learned very quickly there was nothing to be scared of. The Italian man next to me on my flight armed me with a hand-drawn map of where the airport was in relation to my hostel, and then proceeded to help me get on the correct bus into town. What would I have done without his conscious generosity?  I can tell you I would have sat in the Milan airport confused for a good bit!

Throughout that two-month journey, the human interaction is what I most fell in love with. In each country, locals were more than happy to lend a helping hand, share a laugh and share stories. I’ll never forget the man in the pasta shop in Florence who let us smell a $250 black truffle. The first truffle experience of my life! No English was spoken, but the energy spoke for itself. It sounds cliche to say “we’re all human,” but until you travel and connect with humans who are in very different circumstances than yourself, you don’t truly realize the meaning of that phrase.  

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What’s beautiful is that even if you’re not traveling, if you’re in the comfort zone of your own hometown, you can still have these experiences if you allow it. The easiest way we’ve found is by sitting at the bar and chatting up those around us. So cheers to new friends, deeper connections, and a longer life!

~ Schanen