Conversations with strangers. I’ve always enjoyed them, but I never thought I would spend some of my mid-twenties building an organization around them. Such is life and here I am, watching what was once a tiny seed of an idea in Sarah Fennessey’s head blossom into an entirely volunteer-run organization that acts as the ears to our funky little Montreal community. I feel so lucky to have become part of this team, whose members are some of the most selfless and compassionate people I have had the privilege of working with.
What has been especially interesting about this experience has been observing the ripples of impact extend beyond just the conversations that take place between venters and volunteer-listeners. I’ve found that even bringing up Vent Over Tea in casual conversation can sometimes lead to the most meaningful and intimate discussions. It seems that simply talking about talking and being vulnerable can open space for raw dialogue that is not censored by our usual ego or self-promoting tendencies. It is these powerful conversations of shared vulnerability that continue to make me believe that the work we are doing is valuable and needed in our community. People need to feel heard, and Vent Over Tea, even as a concept, opens space for people to speak their truth without fear of judgment or rejection.
This summer I am driving across the Unites States in an effort to connect with and learn from strangers in other cities. I want to be intentional in learning about the relationships people have to their communities. I want to learn how interactions with strangers take a role in their lives. I’d like to see if there is room for Vent Over Tea in other communities and explore how we can contribute to facilitating that if there is. I’m currently three weeks into this journey and will be returning to Canada in the fall. If you are interested in the conversations, lessons and magic that bloom from this experience, keep your eyes on our blog. More to come soon!