Most people collect postcards or souvenirs on their travels, but those have never mattered much to me. Instead, I prefer collecting the stories of the people I meet along the way.
I was at a train station near the Cinque Terre when a Swiss boy mistook me for a German girl and began to converse with me in “Hochdeutsch.” Having just finished my exchange year in Germany, an opportunity I was afforded through the CBYX scholarship, the language of choice barely fazed me and we chatted as we looked for the right platform and boarded our train together. We talked about our journeys, lives, and his spontaneous backpacking trip until he departed in Pisa. Our names never came up in conversation but I know that I will remember his story and adventurous spirit for a long time, simply because he made the train ride so much more compelling.
The Swiss boy is one of the many people that I met on the various trains throughout my adventures in Germany and other parts of Europe. Although I no longer remember many of their names, their faces and stories remain with me as some of the most valuable things I gained during my year abroad.
I am at my best, truly thriving, when I am surrounded by people of different places, different perspectives, and different backgrounds. I tend to search for the story in everybody, because whether or not it’s been told yet, I know that everyone has something to share with the world. My love for writing and tendency to converse with people of all types can be ascribed to my pursuit to find and share these diverse stories.