Being in one place for such a short amount of time is interesting. You feel detached from your surroundings. Out of place. Never really sure. And you start to notice things.
I was always fascinated by the book about the time traveler’s wife. And as we travel on this long road trip, I identify with her husband. You are always out of place. Everywhere we go, I will never get to know the people there as I wish I could. At every store we visit in every city, I wonder….will I ever meet these people again? Maybe in 20 years, our lives will cross paths and we’ll have never known about that time we spoke in the grocery store. So many stories I will miss and that makes me sad.
I wonder while at the park in San Francisco, sitting and eating lunch with Ryan, do the guys playing basketball know that we don’t belong here? That in 24 hours, I’ll be gone from here, whisked away to another town, our lives never intersecting with their own, never making an impact on one another.
Another thing about traveling so often - you begin to read people better. You begin to see what the check out guy says over and over at thousands of different coffee shops. You begin to see pain flash in people’s eyes when you may have never noticed it before. You begin to watch emotions better, because you need connection and emotion in a life of constant detachment.
and you begin to love people more. How could you not? Always watching them. You see them visit their parks, shop with their babies in their neighborhood markets, smoke behind the building with their friends, see them eat breakfast at cafes on Saturday mornings just like I used to do all the way in Florida. You begin to wish you could hear the stories of all people. You begin to feel things for people you saw on the street or at the gas station or at the Starbucks. You want to know them. You want them to know you. There are thousands of them and you see their pain and laughter and joy and you watch them go on first dates in coffee shops, you watch them pump your gas from the window in Oregon, you watch them sit alone in a Panera and gaze out the window in sadness, you watch them walk down the street with lovers, frustratingly pick up their crying children on the sidewalk, you’ve seen glimpses of them tearing up at a John Green book on the train. And you love them.
Traveling so much can make you feel detached, yes. But it can allow you moments where you see the tapestry of life, drawn into full scale. Where you are afforded quiet moments into thousands of people’s lives. Moments where you just forget about yourself and see each person as they wish to be seen. And how could you not love them? Their pain and sadness and anger and heartbreak and joy. Oh, their joy. They are like you, everywhere, wanting to be loved and walking through anger and growth and laughing at funny movies and drinking too much coffee and having awkward moments and happy moments and struggling with life and hoping, always hoping.
I’m not creepy, I don’t think. I’m not trying to be. But I watch people, because after tens of thousands of miles, mountains look the same. But people, crafted uniquely and perfectly and flawed and beautiful. They fill me with such joy and I hope that when I go home, I never forget them. Every single one of them. Even the ones I never spoke to. They deserve to be remembered. And in my small, silly little love for them, I am overwhelmed by the love of another who sees us the way we’ve always wished to be seen, thousands of us, one of us. Even all of us at once in our patterns and even one of us alone in our sorrow. We are different and we are the same and I love you and thank you, whoever you are, for allowing me to glimpse your beauty and pain and quiet moments and fullness of life.