The thing I enjoy most about traveling is when I feel like an absolute nobody and forced to interact with strangers. The language barriers, the conversations and series of stories exchanged which lead us into this part of the world which now gives us the privilege to calling each other on a first name basis.
I’ve been told by some (not just you, no offense) how being a speck of dust in this universe depresses them. I know how that feels but I think its very depressing to feel that way about ourselves. I know I’m all but a speck of dust so what I plan is to make full use of that and honestly, meeting these new beautiful strangers helps. What I realize is, my life isn’t as hard or important as the few I’m met here in Xi’an.
On my first day here, I met Damien, a Irish banker living in the Czech republic who is now walking the earth for the past several months actually, beginning his journey from Europe passing Russia, Mongolia and now China. He’s expected to arrive in Kuala Lumpur in March.
Tony, was on his way from England stopping by Xi’an on route to India. That was five years ago. He now runs the first soup kitchen for the homeless in China. Last night I was at the local church with him distributing food to the homeless. He does this three times a week. He also showed me photos of his new home, a small cottage in the mountains approximately 3 hours from the city of Xi’an.
Francoisi is a french nurse studying Chinese medicine. She was with Doctors Without Borders in Southern America back in the mid 80s. That was where she first met her future husband briefly but the love affair only sparked years later when the two nurses were stationed and met again at a small village in Switzerland. In between these times, she hitchhiked from South America making her way into Canada working with a fake ID as a waitress. She lived in Canada for a few years till she was caught, and deported. She now has 2 sons, aged 19 and 21 and separated from her husband.
There’s a few more beautiful specks of dusts; Peter Mak, a local who tried to pick me up for a drink. “Are you Muslim? Very nice to meet you. You very special. I want to take you for drink. Maybe coffee or beer?” he said. Hilarious. 3 Belgian childhood friends making their way from Europe to New Zealand. Sonja, a Mandarin speaking lawyer from the United States. She recently passed the bar exam, will start practicing next month when she gets home. She’s been ill so I haven’t seen her in a while, but Fran is taking care of her so I’m sure she’ll be just fine.
I’m probably going to rewrite this again because I’m rushing and leaving Xi’an in a few hours. Catching a train back to Beijing for my flight to Kuala Lumpur tomorrow. It has been a good trip.
PS: You told me to travel for the drama rather than living it, and you were right. Thank you.