While Bjorn and I were out hiking last week, we ran into two middle aged guys on mountain bikes. They had pulled over for a bit of a rest, having just battled four miles of constant uphill gradient. Even in their state of exhaustion, they were talkative and curious.
We talked about the only thing there is to talk about on a trail: Where are you headed? Where have you been? What are you up to?
And on a trail, that is almost always an interesting conversation.
Bjorn and I were on the long way around return hike after gaining 2000 ft of elevation in a 2 miles. These guys, as I said, had just finished four gruelling miles, which was, as we found out, just one stint of their course that day: a twenty mile jaunt in and out of the Tillamook State Forest.
It was such a pleasure to meet these guys, because we were all doing something awesome, something that made us proud. We were doing something hard, something we all enjoyed. We were pushing ourselves, and doing it with friends.
"What are you up to?" is a great way to start a conversation and on a trail in the middle of the woods, you're guaranteed to hear something interesting.
What if our cities worked this way?
What if we lived in a city where almost everyone you met, just by the context of being in that city, was guaranteed to be up to something amazing, something that they loved, something that challenged them.
And what if, like on the trail, this city had a protocol of talking to strangers, of sharing with them what you're up to.
What would that world be like?