I won't lie to you all. Before going on vacation for four weeks I was in a bit of a funk at work. Last year I had one week of leave only as that was because my friend from Montana came to visit. At work we have been short staffed and had a large staff turnover in the last two years the result of which is a great deal more pressure on those of us who remained. I didn't know I was so close to burnout until I went away with the family.
The most valuable thing I got out of the vacation was a restoration of the value of engagement with other people. Ironically in our modern, super connected, instant gratification world we are increasingly isolated. How does that work? I don't know but for sure it exists and I am as guilty as the next person. Being on vacation in a foreign land helped me recover from my funk. I was relaxed and had fun with the family but also with complete strangers. We were welcomed where ever we went and folk were happy to talk to us and find out about our holiday and from whence we came. I had heard that New Yorkers are stand offish. That is not what we found. They are busy, no doubt about it but given the chance to talk they were just like the rest of us. Just earning living and looking after their families. The same for all the other places we visited.
One of my focuses is to engage with people is service roles. I make a point of referring to them by name (if they have a name badge) and having a little banter with them. It's a two way thing and without fail the response is favourable. Case in point; on the Hudson River cruise our boat had a large number of Asian folk on board. More reserved by nature they didn't interact with Jacob our host. Sheryl and I did and as a result he and we had a great time. When we got wax casts of our hands at the Wax Museum in NYC I asked the name of the lady doing the cast as she never had a badge (Joy). We had a great old time with her over the 20 minute period that would have otherwise been silent and awkward. Leo was monorail driver at Disneyland who gave me my 'first trip to Disneyland' badge and let the girls and I sit in the very front and have photos in the driver's seat. Monique was the gorgeous young bouncy lady at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. in NYC where we dined one evening. JJ and "Mr Denis" were our guide and driver on the bus that brought us back to Time Square from the 9/11 Memorial. Susie sold me my coveralls at Tractor Supplies in Indianapolis and Sue settled my Ace Hardware, purchase earlier that day.
Maybe it was that we were on holiday or maybe because we were engaged with hospitality folk a lot over the four weeks but I found folk were great. Ignore the nonsense in the media. The world is still full of good people. Nowhere did we feel unsafe and everywhere welcome. Life is good. Don't forget to reach out and talk to people. The rewards are worth it.
Cheers from New Zealand