I just got back from my weekend adventure in San Francisco. The cradle of innovation, Silicon Valley, the city by the bay, all the names that I have heard people call this place, but I was not there to change the worlds problems. I was in San Francisco to hang out with my friend. Earlier in the week he has asked, “Hey man what do you want to do?” Not giving it very much thought I responded with the typically touristy answer, “Hey I want to see the Golden Gate Bridge and ride on a cable car.” This is a city I knew nothing about beyond what I had seen on TV, movies, and other fictionalized adventures. I think my answer to his original question reflected that very much. Much to my surprise, he countered with the opportunity to go out on a boat in the San Francisco bay. If there is something I have learned in my post college life, it is to always jump at weird opportunities like this one. I responded yes and headed out on my 4 hour cross-country flight to see what would happen on my next adventure.
That Saturday morning we headed to the other side of the bay to meet my friend’s boat friend named Bob. Now on the Friday after I had landed, my friend had told me the story of how he had originally met Bob. The short version of that story is that they met at a bar. Bob is a older retired man, who absolutely loves sailing, my friend is a 20 something person working in the startup world of silicon valley, but when my friend talked about how he enjoyed sailing, it hit a cord with Bob enough to invite him out sailing with him. Fast forward back to my San Francisco weekend, and Bob was gracious enough to let me tag along with my friend out on the water again. As it turns out Bob is a very good sailor who just really loves to share his sailing experience with other people. I was allowed to steer the boat out of the harbor, under the Golden Gate bridge, and across the San Francisco bay while also learning about the different lines, sails, wind patterns, and orienting a boat to make the best use of the available wind. There was no way we could arrange a tour or any sort of touristy contract service that would get anywhere close to the experience we had that day. The whole reason I got to “captain” that boat, was because my friend decided to start up a conversation with this man at a bar. That is the power of conversation right there. There are 7 billion people on that planet each with unique skills, passions and life experience. You never know when the next stranger you meet becomes a friend that opens of your world to an incredible new opportunity. I hope that my travels lead me to meet more people like Bob.