People You Meet

In early 2017, I rented out my house in Cleveland and hit the road. My travels have taken me to Bali, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, New Zealand, all over the U.S., and a few places in between. I often found myself standing next to a fellow traveler at a run-down airport, a roadside food stand, or a temple on the cliffs and wondering, "Who are you? What do you think about when you wake up at 3 a.m.? What's your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? How's your relationship with your mom?"

As a wholehearted introvert, the thought of asking any of those questions to a perfect stranger inevitably seat my palms to sweating and my heart to racing. In the end, my innate curiosity and deep love for human beings won out. Through this blog, I have found a reason to push past that edge of discomfort for the sake of getting even the briefest glimpse of what ties us all together. It is always worth it.

“I will scatter myself among men and women as I go,
I will toss a new gladness and roughness among them.
Whoever denies me, it shall not trouble me,
Whoever accepts me, he or she shall be blessed and shall bless me.”
From Song of the Open Road by Walt Whitman


“I don’t want to be one of those guys. Maybe the English side of me comes out and I’m too much of a gentleman. I think I’ve probably missed out on things that could have happened because of that. Sometimes I feel that if I drank, life would be a little bit easier. I wouldn’t think so much, I’d just do it. But I never liked the taste. When you don’t drink, you have no excuse the next day for anything stupid that you did. You try and kiss a girl and she pulls away and it’s like, ‘I wasn’t even drunk. I calculated everything in my head and thought this was a good idea.’ I got kicked out when I was seventeen, so while my friends were out drinking, I was working at clothes shops and in cinemas and bars picking up glasses for forty pounds a day. That…

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“I lived in New York for a while with one of my friends, and everyone was so kind there. It was such a beautiful place to me because there were people from all over the world, and each person I met was so friendly and welcoming. You could be who you wanted to be. I had to come back here because my visa only lasted for three months, but I will always remember that time with happiness. When I was in Peru, I took the plant ayahuasca, and it changed how I look at things. Ever since then, I have been going on a journey. There is a place there with designs carved in the ground that you can see from the air – bears, trees, and other pictures. It seems impossible that they can exist. Some of my jewelry is inspired by that because it seems like magic. I…

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“Since the divorce, I’ve changed a lot. That was a big event for me. I shifted from thinking about what other people wanted me to be to what I want to be. I take care of myself more now. I know how to take a step back and look at a situation the way it really is. Now that I’ve been traveling, I feel like I found the answer I wanted to find, but it’s different than what I expected. I thought it would be something new and one day it would just come to me, but I found out that I already knew. Before, I felt like there must be something lacking and I was trying to accomplish so much to fill that part of myself that was empty. I went to a meditation retreat and I asked the guru for some books to read that would help me…

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“My grandma was 92 and had lived this amazing life. She was in the underground national army and was awarded all these medals of honor. As I got older, I would travel to Poland once a year to see her, but since my time was limited, I didn’t want to spend all of my vacation in just one place. My family is pretty large so I always had many other people to see, plus new places I wanted to visit, so I never really got more than three or four days with her before I had to leave again. Every trip, I told myself I’d take the time to sit down and listen to her story. My brother and I even talked about turning it into a book. But the years kept passing and I just never did. When I was in my 20s, I found out my job as…

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Juan Fran

“I was living in London because my friend had a clothing shop there. He said, ‘Come and work with me,’ and I thought it would be a good way to practice my English. But it cost a lot to live, and we were sharing a room in a bad neighborhood for much more than what I pay here. It was a good experience, but I didn’t like it there. There was no sun and the food was terrible. Here, you have the city and the mountains and the beach all in the same spot. What could be better? When I was still living in London, one time I came back for three days to visit at Christmas. My dad picked me up, and my mom and all my friends didn’t know I was coming. When I walked in, it was a complete surprise, and my mom started to cry. It…

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