The moments that change our lives forever...

It was a Saturday. May 17th, 2008 – if you want to me to be precise about it. A hike isn't something that Cody Beer and I would normally have planned for a Saturday morning, but for some reason, it seemed like a good idea the evening before.

Cody was reluctant to follow through - I could hear the hesitation in his voice when I rang him at 9am, just as I said I would. But what was I doing out of bed at 9am on a Saturday morning anyway? What good could really come of going for a hike on a Saturday morning?

I had no idea what I was in for...

We had been hiking for a couple of hours. Cody was a ways behind. I think he thought he was going to die - not that I was in great shape either, mind you. We pressed on though, as you do – because everyone knows that the only thing worse than dragging yourself out of bed on a Saturday morning to go for a hike, is dragging yourself out of bed on a Saturday morning to go for a hike without making it to the peak to enjoy the view.

Death had yet to tighten it's icy grip on Cody – in fact, I think he was beginning to enjoy himself as we neared the top. We passed by a group of fellow hikers, exchanging an acknowledgement of humility – you go into a hike like that thinking you're in pretty good shape, but you know the mountain is laughing a hearty mountain laugh as you stand, slightly hunched, gasping to catch your breath. Between gasps though, it wasn't the humility that the mountain was teaching that was on my mind. No. My mind was much more interested in the cute girl that Cody and I had just passed.

I looked back at Cody with a smile as we passed by – he was smiling too – the kind of smile that says 'What do you say we go hiking again next Saturday'? Cheeky bugger.

I didn't know it then – not when Cody and I sat at the top, enjoying the view we had just earned – not when I saw that same cute girl again, offering to take a picture of her and her room mate Justin, as I noticed them struggling to take the photo themselves. I didn't know it when I gathered up the courage to ask her for her number, or on the hike down, or on the drive home, or even that night when I would meet that very same cute girl from the mountain for a drink – but on Saturday, May 17th, 2008 – my life changed forever. One stranger. One conversation. That's all it takes...

[Lou & Justin - This is the actual picture that I took of a the 'cute girl' and her room mate that day. Now, 3 years later, I live with that girl in London, and Justin is one of our closest friends. Funny how things turn out...]

I talk a lot about the moments that have the ability to change your life. I'm hunting for them I guess. Can a cup of tea change my life? Well, yes and no. The truth is – it has very little to do with the tea, and everything to do with the stranger and the conversation - but you knew that already I'm sure. Those are the ingredients that truly matter. I found this out 3 years ago on top of a mountain. But I want to experience it again. Over and over if I can.

And I realized something the other day as I walked through Richmond with Silvia Pezzetti, telling her the same story I have just told all of you about the stranger I met 3 years ago on top of a mountain – I realized that this is the one story that I have shared with each and every stranger I have met so far on my journey to 100. This is the one that started it all, in a strange sort of way. This particular moment is the one that set me down the road I am still on today. The road that led me to England. The same road that got me started having cups of tea with strangers. So today, I thought I should share it with all of you as well.

Oh, and if you are wondering who Silvia Pezzetti is – you'll have to come back on Friday so I can tell you all about the girl who came all the way from Italy to London for cup # 23...

[On that note, I'd love to hear if any of you have moments like this one. One stranger + One Conversation = Changed Life. I mean, I'm sure you do. We all do – so maybe you'd like to share them with me? Email Post comments here. Tweet @100cups. Post on I can share them on the blog, or I can keep them to myself – it's up to you. Just help me prove that a conversation is worth our time!]

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