One reason I love to travel is to hear various people’s life stories, often very different from mine. It’s almost like being allowed to live multiple lives.
My daughters and I traveled to Ireland over fourteen years ago, but I still remember our visit with the couple who owned the bed and breakfast where we stayed for several nights. Patrick and Eileen, who lived on a large farm, had grown children. As Eileen prepared our meal, Patrick showed us his barn, equipment, and beloved cows. He told us that none of his children had an interest in taking over the farm, and he supposed he’d have to sell. His voice choked at those last words and even though this happened long ago, I’ve never forgotten it or a surprising comment about wee people made by his wife, Eileen.
On our final evening, we visited with Eileen in the living room. She pulled out her yarn basket and began knitting. The slight middle-aged woman casually mentioned that the wee people had run off with a bit of her yarn. She was serious. I’ve never forgotten. What would it be like to believe wee people were sneaking around taking objects such as yarn?
Earlier this month, my husband and I had the chance to travel to Nova Scotia where stories began as early as the plane ride from Toronto to Halifax. This time they made me imagine a life very different from Eileen’s. A middle-aged man who sat next to my husband described his job on a South American oil rig. He worked long days for a month and then flew to Toronto where he reunited with his wife and son. It must have been quite an adjustment. After the month was over, he was back to the isolated rig. Visualizing his life, so different from mine, set my imagination spinning.
It continued spinning on our second night in Halifax when my husband and I were joined in the hotel hot tub by two business people, an older man and an entrepreneur from Austria. The two men discussed their plans to build three resorts; one in Nova Scotia, another in the Bahamas, and a third in Austria. They talked about how they would cater to people needing to get away and escape the pressures of life, including overuse of electronics. The younger man frowned when he shared friends were investing along with him, and I imagined the worries a venture of this magnitude must have. It was beyond my scope, but I appreciated the opportunity to step into their shoes for a moment.
Soon after, I had the chance to visit with a retired surgical nurse who allowed me to visualize a career very different from mine. The conversation turned to the mix of emotions—sorrow, joy, and hope—surrounding a donor transplant. The compassionate woman shared details about a new ritual called the “Honor Walk.” Staff and family are invited to come and silently line the hospital halls. As the donor is wheeled to the operating room for organ recovery, loved ones may choose to walk alongside for their final goodbye.
What must it be like to take part in such a respectful, emotional event?
Visiting with people from different walks in life has allowed me to experience everything from working on a Brazilian oil rig, to owning a family farm in Ireland, to believing in wee people, to participating in a respectful Honor Walk.
I’m grateful to those who shared their stories and allowed me to live more than one life.
Tune in next week for a continuation of my Nova Scotia travels and true tales sure to touch your hearts.
2 Replies to “Living More than One Life”
Another thought-provoking column a la Amy! Thank you!
You made me realize that is what I love about my job, I constantly imagine what another person is feeling. Thanks Amy this was one of my favorites.