In 2007, I started traveling internationally and got back into photography. I wanted to capture some of the best memories as I met new people. I learned that if I have my camera out, around my neck, strangers naturally want to strike up a conversation:
Are you a professional photographer?
What do you shoot (as in kind of camera)?
What do you take photos of (as in landscapes, people)?
Some are amateur photographers like me, and we compare notes on what type of camera we use, some of our best photos and our favorite lens.
You don’t have these conversations when your camera is just your phone.
In traveling to Puerto Rico, I inadvertently hit upon another conversation starter: a hat. I haven’t worn a hat (except when golfing) since I was a little girl attending Catholic mass when a head-covering was required for admission. But on this trip, I wore a hat on the plane.
As I was getting on the plane, people remarked on my hat. Was the insignia from the American Legion? Was it from a previous PGA tournament? And again, as I was waiting for luggage at baggage claim, “I recognize you from your hat on the plane. Have you been to Puerto Rico before? Are you here on business or pleasure?”
I enjoyed even a short conversation with someone I didn’t know.
I always travel with my camera, but now I’ll be wearing a hat, too. No telling who I might meet.