Who’s the most interesting person you’ve ever met while traveling?
It’s a fairly common question, one that I get asked frequently when I return from a trip. While I never have a problem describing the little girl that I met on the overnight train in Vietnam or the granddad that was traveling around New Zealand, narrowing down the list to one person is daunting.
After spending several hours remembering some of the fascinating people that I’ve met around the world, I came to a realization.
The most interesting person I’ve met while traveling is, well, me.
Before you think, “Dear Lord, this girl has an ego the size of Russia,” let me explain.
I travel because of the people that I meet along the way. They challenge me and change me, influence me and shift who I am in a myriad of different ways.
By travelling, I discover who I am.
I’m not the same person that I was before I boarded a ferry to Waiheke and met Klaus, who taught me that you’re never too old to take off and travel.
I take pictures of kids in a market after meeting Ta Hien on the Reunification Express; she loved to pose for pictures before grabbing my camera to see the result.
When I check into a hostel, I’m no longer shy about asking to join in on plans. I’ve abseiled in the Blue Mountains, explored the Daintree rainforest and soaked in a spa in Iceland with people I’ve met in hostels.
Even the smallest experiences make a lasting impression. It’s the culmination of people and places and scents and conversations and memories that create who I am at any given time.
I can’t wait to see who I become tomorrow.