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Monday, September 22, 2014

Pen pals

Over a year ago I received a friend request on Facebook. A person with the same last name as mine wanted to friend me. After overcoming my natural cynicism, I investigated into her background. Yes, she was in fact a real person. About every other month or so I get requests from people asking me to like them and click on their links oh, and by the way, stop and see their NSFW photos.
Ahh thanks, I'll pass.
However this person seemed legit, (and an actual girl! You never can tell here in internet land.)
Other than this girl's name, I know very little about her. Her Facebook page has few details. She is about the same age as I am, has children, but the rest I'm not so sure about. She doesn't have a photo of herself up on her page, so I'm not sure what she looks like.
My policy on this blog is not to name names. I'm not here to judge anyone. Perhaps she's shy and reaching out to a stranger.
I think of her as a pen pal. Occasionally she pops up to say 'hi'. It's all very nice.  This morning she said something and I couldn't comment on it right away. One: I was heading out the door to work, and secondly: what I wanted to say, I couldn't put it into 140 characters. 
She mentioned only being to a few places in her life, Wales and Blackpool, and lives in the town of Stockport, England.
Now I've known people that live and die all within a five mile radius of where they were born. Never been out of the state, not once setting foot outside their home town. I'm slightly envious and feel a tiny bit sorry for these people. They have family, a sense of community and deep ties to where they live, but at the same time, their world view is very narrow. Perhaps it's my upbringing. I've always wondered what was over the next hill, that it was okay to follow that meandering creek and let it take you to a new locale.
My pen pal mentioned how she'd like to go abroad, but didn't have anyone to go with.
That isn't necessarily a deal breaker.
Of course, it's more fun to go places with friends and family, but you don't have to go far.
Often times I go to the other side of town and it strikes me as being a completely different community. That's because it is, but it can easily fool a person into thinking they're in another town all together.
Start small. If you want to see other places, visit the next town over. You don't have to go the full tourist route. For me, I make it simple: I'm scouting out new fishing spots.
A few months back I drove to Colorado and back. Yes, that's a big deal. I actually stopped in Las Cruces, New Mexico and sat in a park for a few hours. I walked around the shops in the Mercado and got some things for my wife and kids. It was a bit relaxing to take a break like that and walk for a bit... even if I hadn't been there in about 25 years.
So my advice to my English pen pal: Pack a sandwich and go enjoy a day in a park or place you've never been. Watch the people or feed the ducks in a pond. Don't set a goal or keep track of time to closely. Above all else, relax.

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