Yet another one of my dearest friends is moving this weekend. My oldest and best guy friend, Z, will be moving to Baton Rouge for work. I tried to hold a grudge against him for leaving me here with no one to split pitchers of beer and shoot pool with. It didn’t last too long, and I doubt he was even aware I was holding one. I am too soft some times. I agreed to let him adopt my old smokey grill. I’ve used it all of two whopping times, and I can’t grill on the balcony of my third story apartment anyhow. So, we met at the bar to have a beer and a smoke for the last time in probably a while. After I handed over the grill, he left. I decided to hang around. Half Pint’s father died unexpectedly yesterday postponing our Tampa trip. Being restless and disappointed I needed a little distraction. Bad news never has good timing.
Almost simultaneously as Z exited the building, two gentlemen claimed the two seats to the left of me. *Cue accent that was not coon-ass* “Ello there”. I greeted them with half a grin and a hello. As conversation ensued, I was patting myself on the back for deciding to stay for a while. My new friends, Steve and Matt, were in town for business both working for the same company as submarine engineers. They coined themselves oil field trash. Hardly. Maybe it was just my swooning over their accents, but these fellas were polite, handsome, and interesting to converse with. Steve was from Scotland, 37 but looked about 31, and was kind enough to keep stocking me up on smokes all night like they were bar snacks. Matt was from Australia, 31 but looked 37, and had me imagining a romance like out of Findingravity’s series of blog posts entitled Not Another Love Story!.
Naturally I was like a fervent puppy chatting them both up about all the places they have traveled. Where they have been, what they saw, how they got there, and a million other questions. I showed my best Australian accent imitation to Matt, which I believe he found endearing (at least that’s what I am going to tell myself). He informed me that I needed to work on cutting down some of the “G” sound in my “G’day mate”. Make it a little less forced. After all that time working at Outback Steakhouse, you’d think I would have it mastered by now. Oh well.
Steve and I were really the ones discussing travel. He talked about going to Thailand, New Zealand, Australia, Africa, India and the list went on. He told me a story of a young kid in India, maybe ten years old, who kept pestering him to shine his shoes (which happened to be flip-flops) that he still communicates with today. The kid is now in his twenties. The chance of making friends around the world fascinates me. As I sat listening intently and enthralled, I was also becoming more and more eager to slam my fists on the bar in jealousy. I had one question for him. “How did you get to all these place?”. His response was something to this degree: “You know, trains, airplanes… you just kind of go somewhere and work doing what you know, party for a while and then move somewhere else and do it over again”. Okay. I got more specific with him, “No, I mean money wise. How do people afford to do that?”. Then Steve gave me three main pieces of information:
1. Don’t let money keep you from going where you want to go. There is always a way. You will meet friends that will take you in.
2. Invest in a silk sleeping bag. If ever you are somewhere where conditions are… undesirable… you are covered. Literally.
3. Traveling will be the best time you ever had. It will make you a better person. More understanding in a big way.
What does all this mean in terms to me? I am free to roam around anywhere I please if I could train myself to not worry so much about what could go wrong. I tend to tell myself things are impossible when they aren’t at all. Must work on this. I will be exposed to more opportunities as I build skills along my life path. The ease of finding work in new places will increase. Lastly, engaging in a traveling lifestyle like Steve’s takes a certain mindset. Am I willing to trade off a nice comfortable dwelling, job security, and comfortable familiarity for the experiences of a lifetime? I don’t know if I am to the extremity of Steve’s journeys, but I am certainly in the process of shopping around for a silk sleeping bag.