Two Americans, four Australians and a South African walked into a bar …

What was your favorite part of the trip? That was quite brave of you to go on a trip alone or at least with a random group of strangers.

When I share stories of my travels these are the comments and questions I hear most often.

My favorite part …. sometimes I think people expect me to talk about the sights – those touristy spots everyone dreams of seeing. I won’t deny, standing in the Colosseum in Rome was absolutely breathtaking. And looking up at the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City was surreal.

But my favorite part, always the people.

When I boarded my flight heading to Rome, yes I was alone. I was joining a Contiki tour group of complete strangers from all over the world. Boy, was I nuts. But now as I share the stories, the moments I recall are not of beautiful scenery in Florence, instead I tell everyone about the celebrating Thanksgiving Italian style with Australians, and a South African. We shared what we were thankful for while eating pasta and drinking wine. They were all strangers at the beginning, but the end of that week they were the best part of my trip.

Then of course there’s my South Africa family. Those I flew into Cape Town with, and those I met there. I will forever cherish the heart-felt discussions I had during that incredible 7 week journey. I will always consider each and every one of them family.

They say traveling “expands the horizons.” It can completely alter your beliefs and the way you see the world. That’s all true. However, from my experience though the change comes from the connections made along the way.

It’s stepping out from the comfort zone of home to invite the entire world to your table.