“Let’s just chill for a little bit,” I’d say to my ever patient wife. We’d lean back, sip on the local brew, be it coffee or tea or beer or coconut, then the people-watch marathon would start without a predefined end.
From one cafe to the next (if possible), meeting and talking to whomever might be around us: that’s how I like to travel. Throw in a few sights here and there and that’s the perfect recipe for a great trip.
I tend to infuriate traveling friends whose mission is to check off as many things from the “list” as possible. Some of them have an acute fear of missing out. For me, I fear moving too fast and not having the time to feel the energy of the environment, to hear the music in the air, to see the human interactions of those who live there, and to understand more about the culture I’m in. This is important to me because I’m constantly looking for myself, for an evolved form, one that understands a little more about the world than the previous self. It’s a learning process.
I’ve intently watched a mother doting on her son in Peru, a boisterous family having dinner in Dubrovnik, a group of good samaritans giving leftovers to an old homeless man in Shanghai, partiers dancing the night away New York, sport fans cheering on their hometown team in Seattle, outdoors enthusiasts marveling the vast landscapes at Banff National Park in Canada, businessmen and women hustling to work in Tokyo, locals enjoying a slow Sunday morning in Mexico, an elderly lady paddling her simple boat back home from the Floating Market in Thailand, and so many more such instances.
These examples offer nothing dramatic. Nobody did anything extraordinary. At least, nothing to write home about. But these simple moments provide a common thread for which we can all attach our string to create the web of the human experience. I’ve concluded, after years of idly sitting and watching other humans go about their lives, that the vast majority of people (if not all people) share common bonds irrespectively of their environmental makeup such as religion, ethnicity, political leaning, and etc.