One of my favorite parts of traveling is the characters you meet along the way. The characters that you assume will revisit you in the novel you write one day; those moments in time you share with them, however brief or insignificant, that impact your world and carry with you forever.
Not to mention the coincidences. The first real conversation I had on my first day back in the states was with a teenage son and his father visiting from Cologne – and it happened to be in German.
But the most surprising relationship thus far is my meeting with a girl named Caroline. A flute playing, unicorn-wielding 6-year-old from Atlanta, GA who was moving and shaking across the east coast with her mother in what she called their “summer tour.”
We sat at the kitchen table of our hostel in Charlottesville, VA and shared our knowledge of the world. She gave me a peach she had handpicked in Delaware recently and told me about her favorite color and travel destination. (Pink and New England, respectively).
She spoke with eloquence of experience and expressed a bit of knowledge that took my 20 years to learn: the importance of the open road.
In two years, Caroline will enter third grade, at which time she will retire the flute and will be given the choice of either playing the violin or the cello. When asking her which one she would choose, she replied “The violin. It’s easier to travel with.”