If you are like me, you look at your photo prints and photo books a lot, renewing wonderful memories of your travels. Have you wanted to make a deeper connection with some of the people you meet on these trips but are not sure how to do it? I’d like to share some ideas that work for me.
What draws me back to Europe every year? One thing that makes returning very special is the chance to renew friendships. You can do much the same on your trips by sharing your photo prints with some of those you meet. Photo books are another wonderful way to share – when returning to apartments I had previously rented in Gdansk and Warsaw, Poland, I brought the renters a book that included photos of their apartment and of their town. Here’s some other ways I’ve made new friends while traveling.
I’ve named this person selling flowers in the Sintra, Portugal farmers’ market “The Flower Lady”. A few years ago Diane, my wife, took this photo, and the next year we gave her a 4×6 print. She was so pleased she gave Diane a rose. The next year we brought the “Flower Lady” a 5×7 print and she gave us a plant.
The two men in the next picture are butchers in Oxford, England and they posed for this shot in June. We’ve already ordered prints for them and our friend in England will deliver them for us. We hope this starts a friendship.
Antonio and Maria are best friends in Portugal – Antonio has been landlord of an apartment Diane and I rent and Maria is his 92-year old mother. Part of our tradition is that we go to a local-type restaurant with them every year. We always bring them prints and one year we presented them with a Shutterfly-produced calendar that had photos of their town as well as of themselves. I urge you to try something like this. I think you’ll be amazed at the reactions.
Ernesto is a new friend of ours in Porto, and runs a pizza and soup business where we’ve eaten several times. Diane took this shot less than a month ago and we’ve ordered a print for the next time we see him.
We don’t like to eat out in tourist-type places, and we found this “local” restaurant in Porto. When there a year ago, we watched as our waiter joined another waiter for their lunch, with wine, as shown here. We brought them each a print when returning this year. Again, you have to be there to understand the amazing reactions to this small but unexpected gift.
I guess the bottom line here is – Don’t keep your photography to yourself. One of the great things about sharing is that it can open new friendships for you.