It’s A Small, Small World: Building Relationships Without Borders.

March 12, 2012

This is my first post in several weeks traveling so forgive me if I am a bit rusty. Two weeks ago, after a quick stop to speak about Creative Sponsorships at Event Solutions Idea Factory in Las Vegas, I boarded a flight to Australia to visit my sister, who recently relocated there. When I arrived she kept asking me if I felt like I was in a different country. Since I travel so often, I rarely feel like I am anywhere in particular and the 10,000 miles or so didn’t impact me. Aside from driving on the left side of the road and buying Big Mac’s from Maccas (what the Aussie’s call McDonald’s), I felt like I was in a country with people who were no different from me.

In fact, the more that I tried to find the differences, the more alike we seemed.  The more that Tiffany asked if I felt like I was somewhere else, the more I realized how small the world really is. She also asked me how many friends I have and didn’t believe me when I said many. I didn’t mean the number of people who are connected to me on FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+, but the people who I enjoy sharing a meal with (my reference for friendship). Through business, travel  and social media I have been fortunate enough to connect to people all over the world, people who I consider friends. Some who might even help me move if I asked them (another popular litmus test for friendships).

Through technology like Skype and the abundance of WiFi, we are able to call or video chat people anywhere in the world without a prohibitive price.  With social media, we are able to share our lives in ways that were never before possible allowing us to learn more about different people and different cultures. Our pen pals can now be entwined in our worlds regardless of how near or far apart we are.

Three People I Met This Week

Colin Green owns a company called Captain Coffee. I met him at a market and bought chocolate covered coffee beans from him. As we were chatting, I learned that he is a professional speaker who speaks to the trade show industry through his company Best of Show.  You know the world is small when you meet an industry colleague while spending the day shopping in Sydney.  Once we built some common ground, I shared a few mobile apps with him that I thought would help his business and he immediately downloaded them onto his phone.  It was a nice reminder to me of how connected we really are and how easy it is to be a resource to someone…oh and his coffee beans were made with chili! Amazing.

Fadi is someone who Tiffany met when she visited Australia for the first time in 2010. They sat next to each other on the plane ride to Sydney and connected on Facebook right after.  When Fadi, who moved to Australia four years ago from Iraq, heard that we were going to be in town, he invited us to dinner.  We met him at a Persian restaurant so he could share his native cuisine with us. We had such a great time that we had dinner with him the next day and he drove us to the airport the following day. “I always drive my friend to the airport,” he told us. Yup, if someone drives you to the airport, they are a friend in my book. I can’t wait to see Fadi again when he visits his family who live in NY.

I often dread getting stuck next to someone on a long flight that smells bad, is rude, or doesn’t understand the concept of sharing the arm rest. Luckily I sat next to Mark on my 15 hour flight from Sydney to LAX.  Within minutes of starting our conversation, he offered me advice on what he would like to see in a mobile app for an event (advice that I am passing on to our partners) and said he would make some introductions for me. It helps that he is a marketing type who sells technology, you know, my kind of people.  Other than our mutual appreciation for all things geek, Mark was incredibly nice to the flight attendants. He asked them their names and made an extra effort to thank them over and over again. Meeting people who are kind to others always makes me feel better about the world. And luckily Mark smelled good or it could have been a long flight.

So, is there a point? Yes, of course there is, silly! My point is to discover new people into your life for work, for fun, to expand who you are by learning about someone who lives a different existence than you do. People are everywhere. At the store, on the plane, behind you in line at Starbucks…the world is not very big and you never know where a new relationship can lead you.