One of my favourite things about travel is the people we meet. They have the ability to change our perspective on why we’re here and sometimes drives our individual purpose, to wander further.
We are some how living the same life, but to such a different design. More often than enough we are searching for the very same thing.
Love, none of us really have a solid idea of what it is or where we might find it. But none the less searching, sometimes endlessly, in hopes that one day we might stumble across it.
‘Whats your story?’ I’m so interested to hear where others have come from, and how they have come to be here, sitting in front of me telling me their story.
A friend of mind shared a story with me just yesterday, of a meeting that had happened to her that very day. A story of compassion, love and heart break. It’s such a gem I have to share it because I believe someone will learn something from this or maybe this girl, may see this story, and know immediately its about her, and she may call this guy and it will be their story.
Here in Noosa we have backpackers, a lot of backpackers, its one of the reasons I love it here. But this one particular Saturday, lets call her Erica was running around doing some errands before work, and found herself at the post office. Outside was a man with a rather large backpack on his back, sitting on the ground, looking tired and a little jaded.
Erica glanced at him, smiled and walked past. She would have left him there, to continue his journey alone, but something in her was drawn back to the man. Lets call him Ian.
Erica introduces herself and asks Ian how his day is, and if he needs a ride anywhere. Ian replies ‘I’m good thank-you, but No thanks, I’m OK’. Ian looks a little worn and possibly troubled, so Erica follows through ‘hey look man, just wondering… whats your story? I mean you got your backpack on, sitting out front of the post office? just wondering, I’m interested’
Ian replies almost in relief ‘Man, its been a hell of a day. I fell in love with this girl, she’s a receptionist at this hotel. I left this morning to catch my flight, but I just couldn’t leave. I cancelled my flight and I came back for her. I called her and told her everything, and asked her to meet me. She agreed. I waited at the cafe, I waited for a long time, and she never came.’
Erica being the kind hearted, optimistic soul she is, responded ‘I’m so sorry…..jeez I really am so sorry. I’m sure she loves you, its probably just not the right time for her. But you know what? the universe has put you here for a reason. For whatever reason, you are meant to be here, I promise. Can I help you in any way please, do you need a place to stay?’
“No actually, I think I’m just gonna catch the bus north and see what happens’ says Ian, kindly refusing her offer.
As Erica says goodbye to her new friend she walks away. Shortly after, he calls her back.
‘Hey wait….listen…out of all these people, you are the only one that stopped to talk to me. I want you to have this, he pulls out a Pandora bag. Slightly crumpled from the anxiety, anger and hurt he had felt, from being stood up by the girl of his dreams. Inside was a tiny white box, wrapped in pink ribbon. ‘Do you want this?’ handing her the bag, ‘I was just about to throw it in that bin right there, until you came past’.
‘Oh no I couldn’t. You keep it, you can take it back and get your money back, or give it to a friend’ Erica shocked, pushing the bag back in his direction. ‘No, I don’t want the money and I can’t keep it, it will just remind me of her. No I want you to have it, please take it’ he insists. Finally she agrees. She hugs him with an open heart, as his is breaking.
Love hurts, but Erica is right, for whatever reason he is exactly where he needs to be.
Kindness to a stranger can change their day. You never know whats happened to them in the last week, day or hour. Sometimes just asking a question, can unveil an entire story that breaks your heart, but starts to mend anothers.
We are all in this together, we have to be there for one another, through heart break and happiness.
How amazing would it be, if this particular box, travelled the world, passed from wanderer to wanderer, through love, friendship or just pure kindness, and never actually got opened.
What a story that little white Pandora box would have.
What’s your story?
Written by Paula Ansell
Picture taken on Gili T, Indonesia.