Today at a local event, I got talking to someone about how unfriendly Vancouver is, how hard it is to connect with people or feel as part of a community. Is that really still the topic I thought? Is that still how we view this city – full of standoffish, grumpy people?
But then at that very same event, I met Colin Easton. How amazing is that? I got to meet the founder of the Stranger Project. For those of you unfamiliar with the project, Colin challenged himself in 2014 to talk to a complete stranger each day and discover their stories. Each morning for that entire year, Colin became part of my routine. I loved reading his stories, finding out how unique and exceptional each and every person was, and yet how I was able to relate to each and everyone of them too. His project made me feel like I was part of a community.
And so, after meeting THE Colin Easton (I really don’t think he realized how excited I was to meet him. I even took a shameless selfie!), I got a new wave of inspiration – Vancouver is not an unfriendly city. We just have to look at the issue from a different perspective. Other people may not make the first step but we each have it within ourselves to make a difference. It’s up to you to bring out the smiles from the strangers you pass in the street. It’s up to you to say hello and ask how someone is doing. It’s up to you to make that connection and create that sense of community – just like the Stranger Project. Everyone wants to belong and you have it in you to make them feel connected for even just a second.
On that note, I’d like to announce a new series i will be starting on my blog (because if I write it here then I have to do it , right?). I have decided to continue the dialogue around smiling at strangers and finding happiness in the little things. Inspired by Colin’s Stanger Project, I will be approaching complete strangers around Vancouver and asking them what made them smile that day and when was the last time they smiled at a stranger.
And friends, don’t forget. You have it in you. So get out there and smile!