Day 01 - January 01, 2015

Day 01 - January 01, 2015
A New Year, an updated project

Thank you. Thank you for reading, for commenting, for sharing the stories with others, and for coming back for more. I never started this project with the intention of having thousands of people following along. That said, it is gratifying to know that there are so many other folks like me, who are just as interested in knowing about people’s stories, challenges, and success. Connections and community. 

I started The Stranger Project 2014, not entirely certain what it would ultimately look like, or even what the stories would be about. I just knew I was going to talk to strangers, every day. Then I met Tom on Day 10, and his story helped inform what the stories would be about; the strangers. (*Fact Check - see link below)

Moving forward, I can’t (and don’t want to) imagine what it would be like, to not carry on with this project. Why mess with a good thing, right? However, I’m going to switch it up a bit. And of course, as always, it’s an organic process, and I’ll likely not land entirely on the full spectrum of the project today. But I wanted to share an outline, and some fun facts about last year. 

As you may have noticed, I’ve updated the name to “The Stranger Project - est. 2014” - I wanted to bracket the (est. 2014) but Facebook doesn’t like brackets, apparently. The reason for updating the name, well, it’s not 2014 any longer, and I wanted to honour that. I didn’t want to just add 2015 at the end - Facebook only let’s you change the name of page once, and that’s it! Who knows what the future holds? The address hasn’t changed; if you’ve ‘Liked’ the page (and please do, if you haven’t already) then it will still show up in your newsfeed. I’ve also updated the logo a bit, to reflect that it’s an updated page, feel and project.

For the foreseeable future, the main focus of this project will be about the stories of people I will continue to go out and meet, in the same way I did last year. Some variations on that theme might be reconnecting with a stranger that I met last year and writing an update about them. I see a lot of the people I met last year all around town. I might post a story about how the project is affecting me personally, or share a personal experience related to a story that someone shares with me. There will be a bit more of my voice in the stories from time to time. And, wait for it - I might even take a day or two off, here and there. Should I manage to go on vacation, then I’ll meet people wherever I am, or take a few days off. I’m flexible and open to whatever presents itself. I hope you’ll stick around! I’m looking forward to the next chapter...

Some Fun Facts from TSP2014:
- I approached 791 people in total, for 364 stories
- on 172 days, I chatted with the first person I approached
- the non-scientific average was 2.17 persons per day approached
- Friday July 21st - I wrote and posted two stories
- there were 132 Fact Checks posted
- 2 pictures were removed by request
--- one due to next day remorse
--- one a family member requested
- 2 stories had a picture with more than one person in the photo
--- Father’s Day - Dad and daughter
--- two sisters
- 2 stories were removed from the project
--- one was a personal request that I wanted to honour
--- one was a misunderstanding about the story being posted
- Day 201 - met David, who was willing to chat, but didn’t want his picture taken, so we didn't chat. I then met Russell Teibert of Vancouver Whitecaps Football Club 
- David sent me a message saying “Good thing I turned you down” 
- David and I are now online buddies, with a great deal in common
- 40 plus media interviews, articles or presentations about TSP2014
- written over 358,000 words for TSP2014

And just like last year Tom, from Day 10, helped inform today's story. I wasn’t sure that I was going to use a picture with this post. When I went to grab a coffee this morning, Tom was sitting where he always sits in the morning. I've come to call it ‘Tom’s Bench.’ I sat and chatted with him for a while, as I have many times over the year. Tom has become a constant in my life. 

We talked about his new television show addiction, ‘Game of Thrones.’ I told him I'm not really a fan or that interested in the show. He proceeded to give me a full synopsis anyway. Tom had brain cancer a few years ago, and now he is only required to go for biannual check-ups, which is really the best news. He is a creature of habit, and habitually consistent. Always with a smile, a wave, a coffee and a cigarette. I love our friendship.

It seems only fitting that today of all days, I grabbed a photo of Tom and I together. I’m not a fan of my own picture, for the most part. I laughed when I looked at it, and showed it to Tom.

“It look’s like we’re planning something,” he said. Indeed, we are. #notastranger

*Fact Check - Tom, Day 10 -