Random Crap

My home and my life are full of the random crap that I’ve picked up along the way, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  It’s interesting to me to look around and see the assortment of things I’ve hung on the walls around me.  Artwork from the Pacific Northwestern U.S. hangs on one wall, and artwork from Australia and India on the other.  In between, there are photos that I’ve taken, and books, and furniture, and nick-nacks from all over.  I think it’s all a reflection of me, and a summary of who I am.

It’s interesting to think of my life as being “decorated” in much the same way.  Through travel, I’ve meet interesting people, and stayed in touch with many of them, and count a few of them as real friends now.  I’ve had a friend from the past come back into my life.  I’ve had amazingly kind people play tour guide to me when I’ve visited, and I’ve returned the favor when they’ve come for a few days of exploration of their own.  I’ve traveled with people who have opened my eyes to the world around me.

When I was in college, and just starting to experience the world, my roommate asked me why I wanted to travel so badly.  In my purely pseudo-intellectual ego driven answer at the time, I told him that I was a member of the human race and that as such it was my duty to explore as much of the world as I could during my time on this planet, and that I had something to contribute and blah, blah, blah, blah.  With time, and a little age (and a bit more humility), I now think differently about why it is that I’m not content to stay at home.  Simply put, I am not content.  No matter where I have lived, or what I’ve done, I’ve always had a need to move on, to see more, to do more.  I’ve always felt deep inside of me that there was more to the world, and more to me than Alabama.  I love the state, and the people here. It is my home, but I want to be as comfortable on the streets of Berlin or Rome or Cairo as I am down on the farm.  It’s a tricky line to walk.  It’s easy to get caught up in one world or the other.  It’s easy to upset someone or annoy others.  It’s also proven, in some ways, to make me unrelatable to a lot of people.

I think that’s why I’ve come to value the friends and the family that I have.  I think they “get me.”  I think they understand where I’m coming from.  I think they overlook my eccentricities, my weekend trips to wherever, and they understand that I’m the same person I’ve always been, curious, adventurous, and possessing a strange mixture of outgoingness and melancholy.  The people that I’ve met along the way are in some ways wandering souls, too.  The Welsh actor (and terrific drinking buddy) with a belly laugh that far exceeds his stature.  The Norwegian techie who made me feel at home at a time when I really, really needed someone just to listen.  The Icelander who, having never meet me before, picked me up at 2:30 in the morning from the airport and drove me into the city.  The Australian in Montreal who went exploring with me during a very chilly fall night.  The New Yorker who wasn’t even leery of asking me to brunch with his friends after I had been riding a bus for four hours and was lookin’ more than a little rough.  The high school buddy who was brave enough to go to India with me.  The elderly Japanese woman who took me into her home and performed a special tea ceremony for me, simply because I told her I was impressed by her garden.  The hilariously funny California mother and daughter I saw the sights of Istanbul with.  I can’t separate the places, the people, and their kindness in my memories.

That is why I travel.

The people that I’ve met make me who I am.  I am, and always have been, consistently surprised by the goodness and the graciousness of the people in this world.  I’ve learned and have come to believe that the meetings we dismiss as “random,” aren’t so random.  Maybe they are intentional, and maybe, just maybe, people come into our lives for a reason, when we need them.  Traveling opens the door to let them come in.


Categories: Thoughts


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3 Comments on “Random Crap”

  1. Michelle
    October 2, 2012 at 3:35 am #

    Nice article. I think we live for experiences, which creates the constant urge to travel. When you take yourself out of your comfort zone and immerse yourself in something so foreign, it’s strangely liberating. Those that you meet along the way helped to shape and enhance your experience, and because of that, I think it creates a sense of gratitude towards them and an appreciation that they were willing to take a little time out of their lives to get to know you.

  2. Jill Sullivan
    October 13, 2012 at 4:49 am #

    Wow! So well written and I can’t help but sit here with a big smile on my face as I am recalling the wonderful memory of Istanbul. Keslie happens to be over tonight so I read it to her so she’s grinning too. Yes, the sights of that city were amazing, and the food and culture intriguing, but the company was what made it such a fantastic memory. Brad, you made us laugh constantly–your hilarious comments and quirky facial expressions are imprinted in our minds as much as the frescoes on the walls of the Hagia Sophia! We are honored to be mentioned in your blog and to share an incredible memory with you! Hope to meet up with you again when were “on the road” to somewhere!

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