just out of interest, who's the most inspiring person you've met while travelling? you know, it's that person who has seen so much of the world and has so many interesting stories to tell you, and motivates you to do great things.
for me, it was probably Matias. i only knew him for 2 days, yet he was one of those people who i will remember for the rest of my life. we met in ecuador where he was working and i was travelling. we had long talks about our life stories and i cried just listening to his philosophies and theories about life. we sang bob marley songs by a fire and played volleyball in the rain. it was the perfect friendship for the time it lasted.
Six years ago when I was 22, I quit school, left home, and bought a one way ticket to NZ, vowing to not come home until I was ready and I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. I wasn't so sure about the decision and wondered if maybe it was better for me to finish school, get a job, and travel later when I could afford it and I had my life together.
Then on the my first lag of the flight, from Vancouver to LA I sat with a guy, about 40, from the States. I told him what I was doing, and he told me how much he envied me. He said
"You know what, I spent my whole life in school, graduated with a PhD from Oxford, one of the most prestigous degrees you can have, went straight into my job where I've now become one of the foremost figures in my profession in the world (I believe it was something to do with oceanography). I am very wealthy because of it and would probably be what you would call the definition of successful. But guess what, I hate it. I don't enjoy what I do, I made this decision when I was 20. I would give the whole thing up to have spent my youth roaming freely like yourself, and doing the things I wanted to do in life."
Now, there was nothing special about this guy at all, but he most definetly inspired me. I knew right then that what I was doing what exactly what I should be doing. Now I'm 28 and back finishing my degree. I've visited 40 countries since that day and I wouldn't have spent my 20's in any other way.
A boyfriend, i had when i was 19. I met him, in london, England. He had travelled a bit. Then i started travelling, with him. He stated my life long passion, for travelling.
I haven't met that person yet. I still hope to do. Preferably a really sweet girl who wishes to travel the world with me But I haven't met that special one yet, nor did I meet another person that was so inspiring I'd hang on every word he/she says. I met many interesting people though, but just not someone I'd rate that high I'd really seek his/her presence deliberately and frequently.
That would have to be Neal, who I met in Paris 3 years ago and who is on his last jaunt abroad before coming here for good next year. He's patient to my impatient, kind to my occassional short temper, funny, open, honest, and shares a passion for travelling, too. Look at me getting all mushy...
The runner up would be the nice lady in Courselles-sur-Mer who took me to the beach my grandfather landed on on D-Day. She drove me around and told me about her childhood during the war and dropped me off just in time to catch the last bus to make my way home. That reminds me, I have her address and should write her...
For me it was Hilda (that's what I call her. her real name is Ragnhild). She posted something about camping in NZ on TP and I said to her 'You are always welcome to camp in our garden when you'll get to NZ'.
I also gave her my phonenumber, but eventually forget about the whole thing. One night the phone rang (while my now husband and I wanted to have some private time). *g*
It was Rganhild on the line, saying that she will b at our house in 10min time
So I didn't have much time explaining to him, who she was, where she's from and when I actually invited her (I mean I even couldn't remember anymore)
In the end it was such a pleasant time we had (she stayed one night and half a day, in the 2nd bedroom).
Why she was inspiring? She'd been travelling for many years, without any insurance etc. She hitchhikes everywhere and never worries about where to sleep, where to find work etc. (and of course she always found somewhere to stay/something to do). With her attitude she has met the most interesting, generous and kindest people you can imagine. She was such a lovely woman and her positive attitude towards life is just amazing.
I'm not really in touch with her anymore (unfortunately), but I do look at her webpage, as she's pregnant and 'settling' (???) in Iceland.
Ragnhild: I'm sending you all my love!!!! I'll always remember you!!!
it's definitely these kind of people that make a huge difference in your life... whether or not you realize it...
Last easter, on my way back from a 2 week training trip in south africa on the second return flight, madrid to london, i sat next to an english guy, though he was a quarter of something else, and something else, and lived somewhere else! He was a business man, to do with microsoft, and really rich but had spent a lot of his time giving and travelling, setting up a program somewhere (i have a terrible memory)! to help poor people in this third world country to get jobs. He had a million stories to tell of spending time with tribes in Africa and travelling in the bush. We spoke the entire two hour and half hour trip about adventures, the meaning of life and religion, people and the world. It's rare to find people like this and although i was probably just some teen girl who was cluless about this stuff and who he has probably forgotten now, he really made me realise how much excitement is out there and how important it is not to waste time/life. He definately helped to fuel my enthusiasm to see the world.
oh what was his name...?!