One evening, I talked with my mentor, who shared a story about her trip. She said one night, she stayed in a casino hotel, and she brought 100 dollars downstairs to have some fun after a long trip to play on the slot machine, and another lady, aged about 60, was sitting beside her on another slot machine. 

When my mentor was playing, she felt the other lady always won, so she said, “Today seems to be your lucky day,” and they started a conversation. In the beginning, the lady was a bit surprised and did not want to talk much; it seemed she was not expecting to talk with a stranger in a casino.

Later that night, the two ladies talked and talked, and the lady said she was so happy my mentor started a conversation; she had been by herself all day long, and that conversation was the only conversation on her day and it seemed a new friendship sparked from that talk.

My mentor and I  later talked about starting a conversation with strangers and who usually initiated that; we both found we have similar ways to start the conversation if we feel the strangers beside us are the type of people we would like to talk with. 

However, many times, people don’t want to start a conversation, even if they feel lonely and need company at that time. Some people could be too shy to talk with strangers, or some people don’t want to be rejected, and their self-esteem could be hurt if that happens. 

However, my mentor said that social rejections don’t have an impact on life, but lots of people have that concern of thinking, what if they get rejected? 

There are lots of people on the road, and they remain strangers. They don’t want to take the initiative to reach out to the people beside them because of the thought of being rejected. It’s not necessary, as if the conversation did not happen; you just move on. There is no loss for a try.

 People often overthink things. Some conversations could be delightful moments on the trip, although we may never see each other again. Lots of people want to have friends, but they just don’t open up for that when the time comes.

Isn’t that so true? People are hungry for friendship or love, but they hide it and stay lonely. 

Story 1 

I remember I started a conversation and made a few long-term friends in my life. When I first started my first job, I had to take a 45-minute commute to the office downtown. The transportation tool was quite nice; it was a complementary offer for the people who lived there for the first year. It’s like a tour bus for the residents; the bus is clean and always has a comfortable temperature. All windows have curtains, so people could pull the curtain beside their window and take a nap on their way downtown.

I usually did nothing on that bus and just listened to my MP3 as, at that time, we didn’t have social media or music apps like Spotify. Or sometimes I took a nap if I did not have enough sleep in the previous evening. 

One day, a young lady similar to my age sat beside me. She had beautiful hair and carried a nice handbag. I feel she could do a similar job in the office in a professional setting and at a similar age to me.

I complimented her handbag, and she thanked me. Then we started the conversation. That 45-minute commute was short for me, as the conversation was interesting. After that, we added each other to our contact list and became friends. My instinct was right. She was just one year older than me and worked for a technology company while I worked for an IT company. We had so many similarities and hung out together after that first meeting.

I thought that we would not have started our friendship if I had not started the conversation. We will be strangers on the same bus and miss each other on our life journey.

Story 2

Another time, John joined non-profit groups and started volunteering. One beautiful afternoon in June, the children started volunteering. They took tools, garbage bags, and cleaning devices and left them out to clean the shore.

I was waiting under the tree with other parents. John was new to the group, and so was I as a new parent. I looked around, and lots of parents seemed to know each other. They were chatting in their small groups. I noticed another woman, again, attracted me as I feel we have some similarities from my six senses. 

I approached her and said hello. I told her I was John’s mom and had just started here. I was happy to find out her son was the same age as John. And we did have similar backgrounds. We are both the only parents accompanying our child in Vancouver, and we both have only one son, who is the same age. We both went to private school, etc. 

Starting from that conversation, we became good friends, and John and her son became close friends. They started to take the same extracurricular classes and participated in several of the same volunteering groups. What a coincidence! How amazing a conversation can trigger the start of a nice friendship, including parents and children.

A Famous Phrase

There is a short phrase by Hayao Miyazaki, a Japanese film director, animator, screenwriter, producer, author, and co-founder of Studio Ghibli, a renowned animation film studio. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest animation filmmakers.

Hayao Miyazaki said: “Life is like a train journey heading towards the grave. Along the way, there will be many stops, and it’s difficult for anyone to accompany you from start to finish. When those who accompany you need to get off the train, even if you feel reluctant, you should be grateful and bid farewell with a wave.”

Even if it’s a train journey heading toward our ending, there are still lots of moments that can fill in our journey. 

It is not always a conversation that could start a new friendship; sometimes, it is just a temporary conversation on our train, and that conversation could be a short highlight. After saying goodbye to each other, we may never see each other again in our lives. However, we could leave something in another person’s life that could be a beautiful memory, even if it could be a short conversation you got enlighted or inspired, even if we don’t remember the conversation at all after years, but we remember that in that day, someone added a drop of honey to our life.

Story 3

There was a movie of the Modern Love series on Amazon Prime, “Strangers on a Dublin Train” is an episode from the “Modern Love” series on Amazon Prime. It follows the story of two strangers who meet on a train journey in Dublin. 

In the movie, Lily (played by Jane Alexander) and John (played by Ed Sheeran) meet on a train journey in Dublin. As they engage in conversation, Lily shares her passion for art and her longing to pursue her dreams, while John opens up about his struggles with relationships and finding purpose in life. Despite their differences, they bond over their shared experiences of vulnerability and the desire for connection. Lily encourages John to embrace his talents and take risks while John offers Lily advice on finding balance in her life. Their candid and heartfelt conversation highlights how chance encounters with strangers can lead to profound moments of empathy and understanding on life’s journey.

Although they got disconnected after that trip, for sure their life had that moment, and their life was enriched after that sparkling conversation and the beautiful memories. Even that moment only lasted as long as the train’s trip length to Dublin.

Story 4

Recently, I have been watching a TV series called “Love is Blind.” This reality TV series on Netflix features singles who attempt to find love and form connections without ever seeing each other face-to-face, testing the idea that emotional connection can transcend physical attraction. Yesterday, I saw the lady AD meet her lifetime partner, Clay.

Clay was the one who was not involved, and he wanted to see the lady’s looks first, and that turned AD off as the TV program’s design was to talk first in their cubics with each other without seeing each other’s faces. So people could love the personality, conversation, and talk without seeing each other’s faces.

However, Clay later changed for AD; he proposed to her to marry him.  He was so excited he was going to meet with his finance AD for the first time in person. He told himself that he wanted love and he wanted to be loved so much, but he never mentioned it to anyone.

I was moved to look at him talking with himself in the mirror before seeing AD. 

How many people want friendship and want to embark on a conversation or a love relationship, but they dare not come out of their shells and even initiate a conversation because they feel shy or, most of the time, are afraid of rejection? 

My mentor said if the other person did not like to join in the conversation, no worries, just move on. We are all on a train, moving at all times in our life journey. 

In life’s journey, we encounter many stops along the way, and it’s rare for someone to accompany us from start to finish. When those companions depart, even if it’s difficult to say goodbye, we should bid them farewell with gratitude. 

As I mentioned in the last 3 stories:

  • Hayao Miyazaki beautifully says, “Life is like a train journey heading towards the grave.” Sometimes, a simple conversation with a stranger on this journey can lead to unexpected friendships or moments of connection. 
  • This is similar to the chance encounter between Lily and John in “Strangers on a Dublin Train,” where their candid conversation brings them closer, showing how brief interactions can have a lasting impact. 
  • Similarly, in “Love is Blind,” Clay’s transformation from hesitancy to proposing to AD illustrates the power of taking risks for love. It’s a reminder that sometimes, the most meaningful connections come from stepping out of our comfort zones. 

So, let’s embrace the opportunities to start conversations and open ourselves up to the possibility of new friendships and love if you are single, for it’s these moments that enrich our journey and make it truly memorable.