Finding life amid new friends.
When I got to the common room, an odd ensemble of people sat on the mat on the floor. A middle aged Indian man formed a circle with a bunch of Asian girls. I didn’t know what to do, so I smiled and nodded politely and sat at the sofa near to them. They were talking about pretty interesting things and I was itching to join them. I’ve gotta keep my cool; I was so afraid of approaching people.
A myriad of feelings and thoughts swept over me as I struggled to focus on the open book I had in my hand. Fear? What if they rejected me? Anticipation? Would they be the legendary connections people made on the road that I’ve heard so much about? The want to approach them and the fear of rejection practically brew World War III inside my head.
“Hey, can I join you guys? You guys sound so interesting.”
It’s funny how circumstances could push you into doing something you won’t normally do. A year ago, if you were to ask me if I would approach a circle of strangers in a hostel somewhere in Asia, I would have said that you’re nuts. But that’s what travelling do to you. Being alone in an unfamiliar place forces you to fight for what you want. You want companionship? You’ve gotta talk to people.
If not for that moment, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to know these amazing people who contributed to so many valuable experiences in my trip. I wouldn’t have known Eri, who showed me that Japanese women are not all demure and passive. I wouldn’t have known Cho, who’s so freakin’ amazing on the ukulele. I wouldn’t have known Stacey, whose bravery and spunk got me admiring her so much. I wouldn’t have known Mervyn, who taught me that age isn’t mutually exclusive with an adventurous soul.
I was feeling a little bummed that most of the people I’ve met the days before left. It’s exhausting to establish a connection with someone, only to have the connection severed when they left. Eventually that did happen with this bunch of friends I made today, because that’s just what happens on the road and life. No one is could stay with you in your life. They have to live theirs and you yours. All it matters is that they played a part in your life at one point of time. All we have to take away from the road is lessons and memories. Nothing matters more than that.