I Went On A Walk With A Stranger, And This Is What Happened

I Went On A Walk With A Stranger, And This Is What Happened

I promise it is not as weird as it sounds
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This past weekend, I went on a Freshman Retreat in Cape May. It was a weekend of reflection, new connections, and laughs. While the retreat as a whole was moving, one particular activity, a walk on the beach, impacted me greatly.

I’ve done dialogue walks in the past, where I have gone on a walk with someone who I don’t know too well. Some have been guided with questions, others with the only instructions being to allow each person to speak, and to actively listen.

I have always found the act of a dialogue walk to be comforting. When you go on a walk with someone, your body is moving, and for me, many times this act of motion translates into the words I share.

The fact that my body is in motion allows my emotions and thoughts to also move to a point where I feel more comfortable sharing what is on my mind.

When you are having a “normal” conversation, you can see the other person’s face and reactions to what you say. However, when walking, you are not directly facing whoever you are talking with, so there is less frequent eye contact. Less judgment is emitted and again, it is easier to say what I may not otherwise share.

The walk I took this weekend was no different, and had a particularly great impact because of my current circumstances. Being at college means constantly meeting new people and seeing new faces every day. It means forming friendships without knowing whether they are lasting ones or are simply ones of association.

In a new environment, it is natural to want to surround yourself with people, and while that aspect may be easy, the difficult part is figuring out if you are surrounding yourself with the right people. It is even more difficult to decipher when your friendships that may have started surface level can go deeper.

The dialogue walk allowed me to go past small talk and instantly form a deeper connection with someone.

However, this doesn’t just happen: forming that connection requires opening up. I went into the retreat with the intent to have an open heart, and this carried on into the dialogue walk, where I chose to be my true, authentic self.

I feel like a lot of the conversations I have at college are guarded. Everything is so new and you never know how people may react to the things you say.

I have always been an advocate of vulnerability, but putting this into practice is easier said than done.

On the walk, I let go of the need to keep up appearances and was honest. I took a risk, and I am grateful to say that it paid off- once I took that step to share something close to me, she instantly felt compelled to do the same. My partner had similar experiences as me. Finding that connection was inspiring.

The conversation that followed has stayed with me over the past few days. I hadn’t realized how private I had felt the past couple of months, how much I missed letting people see exactly who I am.

This does not mean I am not real with the people I encounter every day, just that there is a certain level of closeness I know I have yet to achieve with people.

I feel so much freer. Opening up with those around me may take time, but having such a positive experience with someone I didn’t know too well is encouraging, and I am going to continue to trust the process.

So, if you ever find yourself able to, take a walk with a stranger.

I promise it's not as weird as it sounds. And while on that walk, just be yourself. It's worth it.

To the stranger, now friend, I went on the walk with, thank you for listening, for being receptive to my thoughts, and for sharing in return. It is so appreciated.

Talk soon,

Sam

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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22 New Things That I Want To Try Now That I'm 22

A bucket list for my 22nd year.

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"I don't know about you but I'm feelin' 22," I have waited 6 long years to sing that and actually be 22! Now 22 doesn't seem like a big deal to people because you can't do anything that you couldn't do before and you're still super young. But I'm determined to make my 22nd year a year filled with new adventures and new experiences. So here's to 22.

1. Go sky diving.

What's crazier than jumping out of a plane? (Although I'll probably try indoor skydiving first.)

2. Go cliff jumping/diving.

I must be the only Rhode Islander who hasn't gone to Jamestown and jumped off a cliff.

3. Ride in a hor air balloon.

Up, up and away.

4. Try out skiing.

Cash me in the next Olympics, how bout dat.

5. Try out snow boarding.

Shawn White, I'm coming for you.

6. Go bungee jumping.

Because at least this time I'll be attached to something.

7. Go to Portugal.

I mean I'm Portuguese so I have to go at some point, right?

8. Go to Cape Verde.

Once again, I'm Cape Verdean so I have to go.

9. Vist one of the seven wonders of the world.

I mean hey, Egypt's on, my bucket list.

10. Try out surfing.

It's only natural that somebody from the Ocean State knows how to surf.

11. Learn a new langauge.

Because my little bit of Portuguese, Spanish and Latin isn't cutting it anymore.

12. Travel to a state that I've never been to before.

Fun fact: I've only been to 17 of the 50 states.

13. Go paddle boarding.

Pretty boring but I've never done it.

14. Go scuba diving.

I'm from the Ocean State so I guess I should see the ocean up close and personal.

15. Learn how to line dance.

There's actually a barn in my state that does line dancing, so this one will definitely get crossed off.

16. Go kayaking.

All this water around me and I haven't done a lot of the water activites.

17. Stay the night in a haunted hotel room.

I bet if I got my friends to come with me, it would be like the Suite Life of Zach and Cody episode, minus the ghost coming out of the wall but you never know.

18. Get my palms read.

Because who doesn't want to know their future.

19. Go to a medium.

Like a medium that can communicate with people that have died.

20. Take a helicopter ride.

Air plane: check Helicopter:....

21. Sleep under the stars.

Because sleeping in a tent is more like glamping than camping

22. Just to try new things in my everyday life.

Whether it's trying a new restaurant, getting something different at my usual restaurants, changing my usual style, going on the scary rides at amusement parks, and bringing things I used to do back into my life now.

Cover Image Credit:

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Pride: A poem

Hell, I still love you.

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The word love

Is a very complex one;

Often times thrown around

far more often than it should be.

I knew the true meaning of love when

I first laid my eyes upon you

You were perfect.

Perfect in ways you could not even yet conceptualize.

I gave you life;

But, you became my life.

Your first word.

Your first day at school.

Moments that made life worth living.

One day you said you felt different;

You didn't feel like everyone else;

You'd felt this way for years

But this feeling was not just a feeling;

It was who you were.

The masses played with video games and played rough sports—

You didn't;

You were delicate.

Far more delicate than other boys.

You may not have played with the same toys,

But, hell, I still love you.

It only seems like yesterday,

You told me you had gone astray

From the normal social stigma

But you are still my little boy,

And, hell, I still love you.

Pride.

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