Will be going for a preliminary "practice" tour of France, just a week by train in a couple of weeks before I start my job. This is practice for a bigger tour of Europe in summer because I've never actually done this before.
Anyway, I wouldn't say I am a shy person as such, but I am no good at starting conversations...if someone speaks to me then yeah, I'll speak to them...but I'm never the person who actually makes the first comment! I don't know why...but everyone I know who has done something like this has always said they end up meeting new people and stuff...and I'm worried that I won't.
What would you guys recommend doing? I'm a very sociable person and I enjoy conversation and would be very dissapointed if I went an entire week without talking to anyone!
I play it cool.
I am Asian and Asian looking, that makes me very defensive.
Sometimes those who are not very friendly are more interesting.
Asians ussually state this question within 4 minutes, "What is your name?"
But those who play it cool would ask after the 5th hour or the 3rd day.
I find a great way to talk to randoms especially members of the opposite sex is to spark up a conversation about something completely random and non threatening it seems to encourage people to talk. Something which isn't serious or involves much though that everyone has an opinion on or knows about. Films, actors, what there favourite pizza toping is. Just anything. It works best if you and a friend are already having a discussion or a debate and then you ask them what they think or to settle the debate.
If you are as friendly and open as you claim you should just speak to people whenever the opportunity arises. The worst that will happen is they won't talk back and that is very unlikely. If you're worried that they will judge you then you shouldn't. People are too worried about themselves being judged and what you're thinking of them for them to be judging you. Smile, be open and ask people about their travels, every traveller loves to tell you where they've been and where they're going. You will be fine.
Sometimes even though you're friendly its hard to think how to start a conversation even though you want to.
Lets say your on a train and some people get on next to you, just smile and say "Hi", thats a start. Another way is to think of a question that doesn't seem like you're obviously trying to start a conversation like- "Do you know when this train gets to X" or "Do you know any good bars round here" that way, you can hopefully carry the converstion from there but if the other person doesn't want a conversation you won't look too awkward.
Like TheSpade says, its easier with other travellers because they are usually really happy to talk about where they've been.