I anxiously glanced around the hotel lobby. It was definitely an older crowd. My husband and I stepped into another room where it was less crowded and cooler. I heard a friendly voice say “You look kind of young to be cruising. My name’s Kathy . . . Kathy with a K”. It was nice to hear a friendly voice.
I introduced myself to Kathy and assured her that I was definitely older than I looked. In my teen years I hated looking younger than my actual age but, I must admit, I’m enjoying it in my somewhat middle-aged years.
Kathy led me and my husband through the maze of couples and suitcases in the hotel lobby to the foyer. She introduced us to her friend, Ann and to their husbands, Dick and Dave. The two couples had met on a previous trip and have traveled together a few times. We chatted for a few minutes until it was time to load the buses to take us to the small cruise ship on Lake Ontario. We ended up on different buses but it gave me some relief to know that there would be at least four familiar, friendly faces on our cruise.
Planning A Cruise
A favorite magazine of mine advertised this cruise we were going on. I had actually been following it for several years. It was a cruise of the Great Lakes with a shore excursion to Niagara Falls. All of the photos showed more mature passengers so I figured I needed to wait a few years. At 58 1/2 (yikes), I finally felt “old enough.”
We flew to Toronto, a city we had not yet visited, to begin our cruise. We spent a day and a half touring Toronto. It’s a great city! We enjoyed it and would recommend a visit. More about that later.
The night before the cruise, I had a mild bout of anxiety. Would there be other people like me on the ship? Would we meet anyone? Would the other passengers be nice? Would I be able to eat food I’m not allergic to? I know, it was silly.
Since our bags were some of the last bags to make it on the bus, we were on the last bus to the ship. I think we were the last two people to board. Once we were on board, we made our way up to our stateroom, which was so nice, and dropped off our carryons. Next stop – lunch.
So, if you’re an introvert like me, you can imagine the feeling of walking into a crowded dining room to find a place to sit. My eyes scanned the room for a nice table for two tucked away near the back of the room. No such luck — only tables for four, six or eight. With that option behind us, we surveyed the room looking for friendly, inviting faces. Up ahead, I saw four arms waving at us. It was our new friends from the hotel waving us over. They had saved us seats!
I can’t tell you how happy that made me — to have “a group” to be a part of.
That first lunch set the tone for an immensely enjoyable week. The six of us had dinner together all but one evening. We went on several shore excursions together. We enjoyed the evening entertainment together, even though one night was cut short due to rough waters and an outbreak of seasickness. Our new friends invited us to join them on the trip they have planned for August of next year.
We formed a new friendship all because one person saw another person and decided to say hello.
This experience has made me think. How many times do I neglect to reach out to others, to be a friendly contact? Being an introvert, it’s easier to stay within the safe confines of my friendships, my group. Perhaps I need to watch for that person who seems a little uncomfortable, a little lost, a little shy and simply say hello. It may make their day. I may make a new friend. After all, that’s what happened to me.
Thanks Kathy and Dick and Ann and Dave! Love you guys!