This woman comes up to me, she has amazing eyes and asks me what I do.
I don’t remember what I said. Did I mention she had these amazing cat like eyes?
She smiles politely. Or it could be genuine. I don’t care.
We both look for our names in the seating arrangement. She’s sitting next to me. With her partner.
God has a wicked sense of humor.
And thats how these thing start don’t they? Two people in a room full of strangers, networking their tails off, and one person says hello and over dinner a friendship is formed.
So it’s Friday the 1st August. I’m actually looking dashing for once at the Duxton Hotel, accepting an award for Edupreneurship in Internet Marketing, the brainchild of the vivacious Sarah Cordiner.
It was at that event that I finally began my love affair with Twitter and Periscope.
(By the way that was the only love affair happening that night,if you don’t count desert).
But over a long dinner and an awards night that got very competitve on the Twitter wall we started establishing a connection.
Her name was Simla Sooboodoo. I’m assured its her real name.
(It hard not to smile when you say her name, its just a fun name.)
So the conversation goes something like this:
‘Hi, I’m Samith, great to meet you’
‘Hi, I’m Simla, great to meet you too’
‘Are you here accepting an award?’
‘No, we just flew over from Sydney to support Sarah. Are you getting one?’
‘Why yes.’ Smile.
[More small talk]
‘Where do you come form originally Samith?’
Simla makes a strange squealing sound like she might burst.
Suddenly I start thinking this wasn’t a good idea.
‘OMG, thats Awesome! We just came back from Cambodia and we’re starting a tour company called Hands On Journey!’
My ears are still ringing from the noise she made.
So this is how the conversation starts, or a vague approximation, or it could simply be mostly made up.
But someone said hi – I’m 70% sure of that.
Simla may correct me at any time but personally I remember being very witty that night. But a few beers always gives me that feeling.
So Hands On Journey is a new kinda tourism. It combines 3 of my favorite things: Traveling + Community + Paying it Forward.
It’s a tour company for people who not only want to travel but want to also to see the real stories behind places, who want to connect at a deeper level and who also want to create positive change in communities.
So I offer my help and services and we promise to stay in touch.
Turns out that Simla was taking me literally.
A couple of days later we start chatting on Facebook (after the perfunctory FB stalking).
And we start this message:
So Simla makes me an offer I can’t refuse – to travel to Cambodia and Vietnam for 2 weeks and blog about her new tour company.
Some to and throw later, as I keep undropping my jaw, I finally say yes.
The lesson here is thats its about saying YES to opportunities.
The biggest hurdle was it working with my coaching and business commitments and more importantly be at a time when I wasn’t having holidays with my girls.
Normally it;s very hard to travel and I had just return from 2 weeks of travel…
But somehow the timing worked, like perfectly.
Well almost perfectly, as I was missing out on wedding anniversary was on the day I fly out…
(So, now I owe my wife big time. As well as the fact she was willing to marry me and not go running for the hills).
But otherwise perfectly, like click.
So thats how my journey with Hands On Journeys begun.
A smile. A greeting. And a pair of amazing eyes.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/handsonjourneys