The faint sounds of muffled sobbing softly radiated from the seat behind me.
It was all so familiar, the release of overwhelming sadness, able to occupy the entire mind simply by giving it attention. However without attention, such sadness can be stored just below the surface and plainly hidden from sight.
The bump, bump, bump vibrating sounds of the bus were hypnotic. But the faint sniffles and controlled inhales were all I could hear. I sat in the darkness, wide-eyed, focused on the pain being experienced behind me.
I tend to be quite empathetic, but usually in the case of children. But in this case, I knew exactly what the girl in seat 20 was feeling. She was feeling loss. It was thick, but sweet. But it was undoubtedly the sadness of loss.
Miro and I were on the second leg of our journey back to Lima. We had endured one overnight bus from Guyaquil to Chiclayo and were now on our second overnight bus headed towards Lima. We chatted with a few other travelers in the bus station and Miro and I connected with the traveler in the row behind us.
She was a beautiful blond backpacker, in her twenties. She was from Australia and was wrapping up a 10 month solo round-the-world trip.
I could only surmise she was processing the loss of a friendship she had made somewhere along the way, but I would never know for sure.
As travelers, we are just acutely present. We are intensely in-the-moment. And our connections with other people and our relationships tend to be equally intense.
As travelers, we have to savor each moment we have with others, as if each moment will the be the last.
As travelers, we intrinsically know everything is temporary.
As travelers, we live with constant change, both external circumstances and internal conditions.
As travelers we live with goodbyes.
And as travelers, we experience loss profoundly.
But I would argue, real-life offers the same challenges. However travel invites us not to get distracted by life circumstances, schedules or routines.
The beautiful blonde traveling in seat 20 on route to Lima was experiencing her rights of passage. Her human right to be present with her feelings of joy and sadness. Permission to be with whatever it was and process it in her own way.
Such is life.
Such is the life of a traveler…..
Image by .Andi based on creative commons license.