An artist. A programmer. An x-marketing executive. A piano player for the Ritz in Bangkok. We all were running.
Phillipo was running from the rich Italian family that expected him to keep a conventional job. Max was running from the cold weather and people of Moscow. Florenso was running was the society that kept her enslaved for the past ten years. Henry has been running since he was 18. And I was running from fears, love, and life.
When you meet people on the road, you have no strings attached. You don’t have a past and definitely don’t have a future together, but usually our similarities allow us to form a in the moment friendship. In most circumstances, the bond formed between fellow travelers is one that is stronger than ties with people you have known your whole life. Since you have no pretense or connections with them you can open up about life, history, and problems. You discuss your fears, what you’re running from, and whats waiting back home.
The two weeks in Langkawi we spent together were stagnant and rather mundane, but every night at dusk we had an unspoken ritual to eat dinner together. Max worked through the day. Phillipo drew. Henry made music. While Flo and I sat and walked to find our souls somewhere in the clouds. The days were long, while the nights were short.
We always began with a meal on the beach. Spirits flowed and conversation flourished. Phillip always asked bizarre questions like “What does your home look like?” As you’d say the routine “Two story, cabin, on the lake” He’d interrupt and say “No, no, no what is the inside what colors, what smells, what are the small character details that make it YOUR HOME.” Through these small conversations we slowly began to piece together the lives of our new friend. I knew that Max lived in a small Moscow apartment that was filled with Marxist books, because his parents were the poster couple for the former USSR. I knew that Henry had his own organic heating system in the hills of France that filled his lush home. These small details brought my new friends to life. It gave them a background story.
On other nights, we would sit and look at the stars for hours. It appeared that Max knew every star in the orbit and was happy to tell us all about the space system. Phillipo was always trying to find the milky way. Flo was usually already half asleep and I just sat listening. At moments like this it seemed surreal that I was a world away from my family, laying on a beach, with friends from all over the world. At that moment, they were my family, my friends, and my partners. For people who dont travel frequently it is hard to imagine such a deep connection with strangers, but a connection with a stranger is usually the deepest one.