When Gilles and I began planning our travels last winter, Oslo was a destination I lobbied to see. Norway had been on my must-see list since the Lillehammer Olympics in 1994 and that desire to visit the country had only intensified as I was introduced to Oslo captured through the camera lens of Cardinal Guzman.
Since I was going to be in Oslo, how could I not attempt to meet the Cardinal … especially since he had provided so much inspiration for this leg of our trip?
I’ve been lucky to meet several bloggers over the past year. Each visit involved a certain amount of trepidation, but none of them made me as nervous as meeting Max. Suddenly I felt very shy and was channeling every insecurity I ever had since kindergarten. I mean, what if he didn’t like me?!
I came painfully close to not sending the email … but in the end, I just had to. It would have been rude to be in the Cardinal’s city and not make an attempt to connect.
Silly me. My nervousness was completely misplaced energy. Max’s enthusiasm to meet us exceeded my expectations.
Max met us after work. He had cycled 7 km out of his way to join us at a restaurant where Gilles and I were having a very late lunch – or a very early dinner, depending on how you want to look at it.
We chatted over a bottle of wine before Max took us on a private tour of downtown. He is quiet, soft-spoken and his knowledge of his city’s history is truly impressive. I couldn’t help reflect on the fact that I would never be able to provide a visitor to Toronto with a similar well-informed tour of my city.
Gilles and I started to fade long before Max. I’m sure he could have kept going for hours.
There’s a moral to this story.
All too often we let our fears and insecurities stop us from trying something new or reaching out to someone. In fact, how many great experiences do we miss because it was easier and safer to do nothing?
I can’t begin to say how glad I am that I stepped outside of my comfort level because if I hadn’t, I would never have made a cyber friend a “real world” friend.