I remember this one day last summer. My best friend and I were on the bus, going downtown for a day of adventuring. There was a young man that got on and sat across from us. He had a backpack that was nearly as big as he was and he looked a little bewildered. I remember looking at him and wondering what his story was. I do that sometimes. The bus went to the next stop and picked up an older woman and an older man in a wheelchair. The young man sitting across from us moved over so that the older woman could put up the seats of the bus so the older mans wheelchair would fit in safely. Once seated, the woman, who spoke with an incredibly strong accent that I later learned was German, commented on how the young man looked like he had his entire life on his back. He nodded and explained, in a strong accent of his own, how he's from Europe and is travelling abroad for three months. She asked him where he was from and they discovered that she was originally from right around where he is. They talked about his travels and how he's enjoying being abroad and how much longer he's out here for. I listened, without saying a word, just watching two interesting strangers with interesting stories have a conversation. With tears in my eyes, I leaned over to my best friend and whispered to her that someday, I want that to be me. I want to be travelling abroad with a backpack nearly as big as me. I want to be on a bus or a train in the middle of what would be nowhere to me, talking to strangers about my travels and how I got there and where I've been. I wonder if that young man knows if I was listening to them on that warm August day. I wonder if he knows that he inspired me to travel abroad myself. I wonder if he went home after those three months and told his family and friends all about his time away. I wonder if he told them about the older woman on the bus and their conversation. I wonder where he is now. And I wonder if he realizes how a simple conversation between two strangers can be etched into an onlookers brain, stored away as a fading memory, until one day, she decides to write about it on a cool winter's night.
Something I wrote in December. I still think about him sometimes. I don't think some people understand how much something they do or say can impact and change someones life.