This holiday season, you might be seeing relatives and friends that you haven’t seen in quite a while. Many of last year’s gatherings were either cancelled or relegated to video chats, thanks to the pandemic. And we all know talking to a computer or phone screen is not the same as intimate, in-person visits.
Getting back into the groove with family and friends might have its fair share of awkward silences. That’s understandable. To various degrees, we’ve all missed a chapter or two in each other’s stories.
There’s been one constant through it all: Your love of exploring the world. Chances are good that you’ll be surrounded by others who share that passion. So what better way to break the ice with everyone than with conversations about travel? It will not only warm everyone back up to each other; it will also lay out a path for reminiscing and sharing.
Here are some suggestions for travel-related ice-breakers sure to put the spring back in everyone’s steps. So fire away! And if you ask them, be sure you’re willing to answer them!
Which countries have you visited other than your own? Like you, people love talking about where they’ve been in the world. You might discover that Aunt Jean and Uncle Harry are long-time Europhiles or lovers of Southeast Asia. Ask them which was their favorite country and why, and you might discover what they value most when they travel.
What is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen in your travels? Sunrise or sunset. A work of art in a world-class museum or the stylings of the museum itself. The soaring snow-capped peaks of the Alps or the magnificent coast of Northern California. A baby elephant bathing in a river or a scarlet macaw taking wing above a rain forest. No matter the answer, this simple question can lead to a long and winding conversation full of storytelling and shared wonder.
What’s the best trip you’ve ever taken? If you typically travel with a tour operator like Country Walkers, you know that a lot goes into the quality of a trip – the beauty of a destination, the local connections, traditional cuisine, your guide. And maybe you’ve had a peak immersive experience during a trip even though that trip didn’t make #1. Discuss.
What’s the most memorable meal you’ve had on your travels? With this one, you’ll get a real sense of how fully Cousin Kim immerses herself in her destinations. If she’s tried crickets in Thailand and mopane worms in southern Africa … handmade pasta in Italy and haggis in Scotland, you know she goes all in and deserves your utmost respect.
What does your ideal weekend away look like? The notion of escape can morph into all kinds of experiences. A cozy getaway at a mountain inn might sound blissful to some, especially if there are ample walking trails nearby. Others might like to “hop the pond” for a long weekend. Or maybe two days of yardwork is enough to feed the body and calm the mind.
Who have you liked traveling with the most and why? Always an interesting question, this can reveal what your best friend of 20 years values most when she travels. Maybe she prefers a companion who brings a sense of fun and adventure with her wherever she goes. Or maybe she’d rather have her more erudite friend tag along so she’ll learn more at museums and historic sites.
Where are you planning to travel next? Yes, this question is a bit of a Trojan horse to invite you to join Country Walkers for your next Walking Adventure. And if you’ll be seeing family and friends at dinner parties and events, ask them to join you!