When Traveling is Fatal
Is it worth the risk to explore?
We only met twice but we had one of those connections that made you feel like you were meant to cross paths. He was visiting my new friend, and I don’t even know how our conversations got so deep. When we said goodbye we hugged each other tightly, like old friends. I never expected to see him again.
A month later our paths crossed and it was incredible. He shared stories from his journey around Myanmar, visiting places I had never considered since they weren’t “on the map”. He was on one of those life journeys worthy of a bestseller title. This time we didn’t really say goodbye. Though I was tempted to ask for his contact information, I decided to trust fate to bring us back together.
Maybe that’s why it hit me so hard when I got a text saying the friend of my friend had died in an accident. I don’t know the details of what happened, I know he was planning to go to Thailand soon after I last saw him.
“My return flight to Germany leaves tonight,” he beamed, “but I won’t be on it.”
I know in this situation, my role is to support my friend, who knew him well enough he came to spend a few weeks with her and her kids. I am not the one who should be grieving, but I feel hollow today. I keep catching myself on the verge of tears that I almost feel I don’t deserve to cry. After all, I barely knew him.
I don’t believe in an afterlife where I could run into him again. So what my mind keeps creeping toward is death in itself. He was on the adventure of a lifetime, his first trip to Asia and he was all in.
I admired his spunk, his vitality, his willingness to push the boundaries. But am I willing to do those things myself? Am I willing to die for travel?
I’m a practical person, and I still clutch the seat white-knuckled in serious traffic. Mostly because I don’t want to see a pedestrian die. I don’t want to see anyone die. But I’m not afraid of my own death.
Perhaps what I’m learning from this is that I can push farther, and try things that may seem risky. Death can find us anywhere. So I guess for me, travel is worth the risk. If I die traveling, I want my friends and family to know that I died happy. Would you disagree?
Dedicated to Jan, an inspiration and reminder that life is too short to worry or fear the inevitable.