Hey! I just released the intro episode, so if you'd like to know what the show is about and hate reading, click here to listen. Make sure to check out the other episode(s) afterwards by subscribing on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, other podcatchers or by clicking on the "Episodes" link in the header. Thanks!
Those who are willing to read a personal anecdote, along with additional information that isn't covered by the introduction, read on.
my first love
It's hard for me to believe that I'm actually doing this. If you told me a year ago that I'd be starting a podcast, this would be my reply.
For some, it's not difficult to reach out and talk to strangers. For others, it's the most frightening thing in the world. I've always been closer to the latter, but I've been working my way towards the other end of the scale over the past few years. If you'd like a better idea about my starting point, I'm a guy who used to be afraid to tell his order to the person at the counter or the wait staff. If I could, I'd have someone else do it for me.
As you can imagine, this irrational fear can be a little crippling. I'm sure some of you have had similar experiences. I felt like I was missing out on a lot of learning experiences that come through interacting with other people. Although I improved a bit throughout high school, the drastic changes didn't occur until I left for University. The school wasn't my first choice, or my second... or even my third. It's funny, because a lot of my friends were jealous since I got to leave home and they were stuck going to local schools. I was the polar opposite; the last thing I wanted to do was leave the comforts of my home, my friends, and my little bubble.
I spent move-in week feeling absolutely miserable. My roommate (who I went to high school with) went back home for a few days before classes started. Yeah, I was homesick and I lost the only "crutch" I had. I think a lot of people get homesick when they leave for the first time. Almost everyone seems really chipper about it, but you don't always see what they're like when they're alone in their dorm rooms.
Anyway, that eventually passed after my first year. We moved into an apartment that was in the little college town next to campus, and I came up with little challenges for myself. I initially spent a lot of time eating by myself, always making sure to take a seat where I wasn't facing anyone because I'm super self-conscious about the way I eat. One of those challenges was to introduce myself to someone new every day. Whether it was in the dining commons, on the way to and from class, or in class. I couldn't hang around my roommate forever, after all. Shout out to David for being the best roommate ever, though.
During this time, I found that having one-on-one conversations was one of the most enjoyable activities for me. I was in an environment surrounded by a diverse student population that came from all over, and each individual had a unique journey and set of challenges to overcome to get there.
It was then that I developed a true, everlasting love for conversations. And we've lived happily ever after.
Okay. SO What?
So here I am, a recent graduate on the hunt for a job like many of my peers. There was a period of time, a few months before graduation, where I shut people out and I was involved in activities I'm not proud of, nor want to mention at the moment. But one night, I had a conversation with a friend in my car that woke me up from my malaise. I was probably up until 4 or 5am afterwards contemplating what the heck I was doing with my life. This experience rekindled my desire to learn more about others, and I came up with this idea.
Since I love talking to people so much, I figured I'd try to capture the magic of conversation and getting to know each other by recording it. I'll have one hour to get to know my guest. We can talk about anything, but I'll usually initiate by asking about my guest's childhood and branch off from there. That's an experience that we all go through, but we usually have very different stories to tell when it comes to that period of our lives.
At this point, you may still be wondering why I'm bothering with this project. Sure, conversations are great, but do I really enjoy them that much? After all, there are many conversations that I remember fondly, but if you were to ask me to recall one of them word-for-word, I wouldn't be able to do it. In fact, if I could have one superpower, it'd be the ability to recall anything I want at any time. I guess it would be sort of like NZT (a pill that grants you the ability to access any information that you've been exposed to, at any time) from the movie Limitless, but without the side effects. That would be pretty dope, but it's not gonna happen.
It's hard for me to put what I enjoy about conversations into words. I like it when someone is talking about something they're passionate about. I can hear it in the way they speak and their body language. I like to see peoples' different expressions: whether it's a smile, a frown, a sigh, a laugh, a gasp, a disapproving "tsk tsk" or "tut tut." Speaking of which, I'm hoping that I'll be able to expand this show into a video podcast one day. There's a lot that can be expressed in conversation without saying a single word, and audio-only listeners will miss out on that. Whoops, I'm getting sidetracked. What I'm saying is, someone could talk to me about how much they enjoy watching paint dry, and I would enjoy the topic as long as they're able to show me why they love it so much. So whether we're waiting in line at the DMV and randomly strike up a conversation, or we're sitting in my car with the engine off, talking about our dreams and aspirations, I can't think of many things I'd rather be doing. I might not remember where we went, the things we did, what we ate, but I'll always remember what we talked about.
Given today's social and political climate, I feel that there's never been a better nor a more important time to make an effort to get to know one another as best as we can. I feel that our differences should be recognized and celebrated, rather than stigmatized. Society is quick to place labels on everything. It's only natural, as it's the easiest way for us to assess a given situation, place, or person. But I've learned to focus less on those labels and allowing them to define who people are, instead choosing to believe that who someone is, as a unique individual, defines whatever they choose to do in life.
I want to show everyone that you don't have to be a journalist, an activist, or a "somebody" in order to reach out to people from different lifestyles and hear their stories, opinions, and philosophies on life. You don't have to be any of those things to make a positive impact on the people around you. You most certainly don't have to be anything other than who you are to make a positive change in your life and give yourself new opportunities to learn from others. In addition, I want to create a safe space for anyone to share whatever they want to share with the world.
Lastly, I hope that this show encourages people to listen, talk to, and learn from others.
Anyway... I sat down to type a post about the introduction and I ended up with this. Maybe it's a good thing, since you'll have a better understanding of where I'm coming from and why I've started this project. I'm not much of a writer, so hopefully this doesn't immediately turn you off.
If you like the show, don't forget to subscribe and follow our social media pages (if you're into those)! The methods/links are listed under the episodes. And I'm always looking for more guests, so don't be shy if you're interested. Shoot me an email.
And also, thank you so much to every single person I've ever had a conversation with. I wouldn't be who I am today without your help, and I truly appreciate it. I don't care whether we talked about school, family, politics, relationships, travel, whatever. Just know that you have left a permanent mark on me and my life. And I hope that I've left at least one positive one on yours.