As I anticipate upcoming trips, one of the things I anticipate the most is the people I will meet on my journey. They are people who I may never see again, but they are a huge part of my experience. It’s a little bizarre, but I have intense memories of people I have spent only minutes, hours, or days of my life with, but who became part of the tapestry of an experience and memory.
My first trip outside of North America was to Singapore and India. While in India, the friend I traveled with and I were able to stay with our friend’s family in Bangalore. Our friend’s family lived in a compound with four houses. Her grandmother lived in one with her mom (her mom was in the States during our trip). Her two aunts lived in two of the other houses, and the fourth house was rented out to a business. What an amazing trio of women we had the pleasure of staying with for two and a half weeks. They were strong, independent, intelligent women who have a solid place in my heart and memory. Mani the historian and artist, Auntyo who remains one of the most giving and caring people I have ever met, and Buddu a woman with the strength of ages.
While in Bangalore, we were able to attend part of a wedding, which was an unexpected pleasure. Now to the couple, we were one of many guests they greeted, and they probably don’t even remember us. But at odd times, I will find myself thinking about them and how their lives are going. Their wedding is a part of my memory. While in India, there were so many people who wanted to be part of our experience like the friend of my friend’s mom and the family of doctors we met. We also had a chance to visit a school and interact with children who may be adults now. I have pictures of some of them from that one place in time. Where are they now?
While roaming around various cities you encounter people who you create a memory with. I was roaming around Warsaw, and I accidentally stepped into a picture a man was taking. I apologized, and he was like no problem. Then a few minutes later, he asked me take a picture of him in front of one of the sites. After that, I was just wandering aimlessly in the Old Town and ran into him again. After the second meeting, we chatted, and I found out he was from Moscow. He is a memory from Warsaw. I always wondered how his reception was in Poland with the history.
When I was in Stirling at the castle, I encountered four young men who I think were from Spain. They asked me to take their picture. The next day I took a tour to the Highlands and there they were on the same tour. And I tell you I randomly walked into a random agency to book the tour I could have done on a number of different days. Then the day after the Highlands, I saw them in St. Andrews. We were walking different directions on the opposite side of the street, but we saw each other, laughed and waved. It was so funny. It felt like we spent three days on the same wave length. We were in the same country, creating the same memories on the same days. During the Highlands tour, I also met a family from the States. When I was at the train station to leave Edinburgh, I sat down in an area that was available. Then, I heard the dad’s voice behind me. It was funny and so random that we could be at the train station at the same time and then sit next to each other.
Then there are the people you go across the world and meet who live right in your backyard. During one trip, I met quite a few people from the Seattle area. Among them was a mom and daughter who I ended up spending time with throughout the trip. We and two others I met had some pretty amazing, timely, and needed conversations over the course of the trip about life. And I have kept in contact with the daughter. During another trip, I met a man who lives a little south of Seattle who I wonder about from time to time. He is originally from Latvia, and his life has been pretty amazing. It’s funny to have to go that far to meet people so close.
During my last trip, I met a woman who I am still in contact with. She is single like me, and it was so easy to be open about life in general. You name the topic, we talked about it. It’s like the feeling I had with the women mentioned in the paragraph above. I felt like we were meant to meet. It was a chance to have honest and open communication that was soothing to the soul.
So as you travel, be open. Of course you have to be cautious, especially when traveling by yourself. But be open. Meet the people you are supposed to meet. I know that no matter how small or large the interaction with the random people I meet, the memory will stay in my heart for my lifetime.