About Me · Journal

A Traveler’s Encounters

I mentioned briefly in my last post, but I’m visiting some friends for summer vacation! I’ll be with Ira in DC until May 30th and Danny in Canada for the whole of June. However, my post isn’t just an update – it’s about the kinds of people I meet when I travel and the thoughts that come to mind. (TBC because this is a very active family!)

To me, the worst part of travelling is the inevitable suffering you end up seeing. The society isn’t a perfect or even a pretty place, and stepping outside of your comfort zone simply allows you to see that. When I took off from my college town in Massachusetts on the 26th, I had an encounter that reminded me of similar exchanges from previous travels and got me thinking about my opinion on the human condition.

Before I took off for my 10 hour bus trip, I stayed at my college roommate’s home for a few days. Her mother kindly packed me a bundle of snacks, including a homemade whoopie pie and a leftover hamburger. It was a pretty darn good hamburger, really, I was extremely grateful for it. It was my first time taking a bus across statelines like that, and though I was interested in the experience, I was not looking forward to 10 hungry, cramped hours on the road.

However, I never did get to eat that burger – which is fine, since I had some when they were fresh off the griddle and all, but the reason why was an experience that left me shaken. I was almost late to catching my midnight bus due to a
But afterwards, especially if you manage to serve as something as small as a rekindling of hope, maybe it’s just me but I feel protected

Abby’s mother packed me a burger, and I gave it to a homeless, beaten up girl in the station
She was crying as she thanked me
Who beat her up?
She told me she recently escaped from an abusive relationship

Extremely but I wanted to talk about the people I saw
It leaves an impression, always
He had no eyes, and he stood as stiffly as his white cane, clutching a jar only filled with coins, as if people assured themselves that a blind man needed to hear the rattle to know of their good deed when in truth they’re just cheap
And she huddled behind her sign with one side of her face swollen with eyes rimmed red from crying, and when she spoke her voice was hoarse, explained by the angry bruise across her throat when she eventually set down her sign to cry
Back when I visited Canada the first time, there was the deaf man who went down the line of the train station, with an index car written in neat English and French, and I deeply regretted that I didn’t study sign language to a conversational level
In Vegas, there was a woman and her child on a bridge, and back then I walked past after making eye contact and felt haunted and powerless, ironic when I was the one in the place of privilege
I remember in Korea I saw man with no legs, pushing himself along on a small wheeled platform with a tin can in hand
And I remember every single person each time I meet a new one, and it’s always sobering
Maybe it’s arrogant, but when I manage to get a smile out of those people, which really hasn’t happened much – this girl today with the burger – I feel safer when I travel, because whatever happens to me on this trip won’t be as dire as their situation, and if someone can manage to bring them hope in their darkest times, I’ll surely have someone to help me in whatever problems I run into on my trip
Ugh, I’m rambling, I should sleep

 

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