A very generous Nepalese man I met while trekking in Langtang Valley welcomed me to his home in Kathmandu. I gratefully accepted the opportunity to become more intimate with the locals. Over a cup of tea we talked and he shared with me his views on compassion, which strung a chord in my heart that I can still feel humming inside. This is what he said:
I vividly remember a conversation I had with a young woman about authentic connections and our own personal struggles. She came across as a strong and self-motivated individual with more wisdom than she probably realized. Something she said that we could all take a moment to think about is this:
When you travel, it is important to understand and be aware of the culture that you are traveling to. There is more than one lens to which we can view the world. One traveler reminded me of this quite boldly. This is what she said:
In a conversation with teachers in Nepal about corruption in Nepalese school systems, one teacher admitted he had left a school because the head master cared less about the children’s education and more about the money in his pockets. I asked him why more people don’t stand up like he did. This was his response:
Two weeks had passed since I arrived in India and I sat at the bank of the Ganges river in Rishikesh reflecting on all that I had experienced. To sit in silence with only the sound of the rivers silent caress against the shore was new to me and much needed. The India I had seen, heard, touched, and tasted was not mellow in any way.
Only one word was exchanged between us, but this photograph captures the words that were not spoken. It is the essence of this photograph that became the first inspiration to share my journey.
"I have a good life. I have everything. I have the ocean. I have my family. I have many friends. I have my friend's families. I may not have the nicest house, but I have a place to sleep. I have food to feed my family. I am lucky. I have everything." -Bonzai (Banten, Indonesia, March 2017)
One connection always leads to another and that's how I met Bonzai, who is close friends and ocLean partners with Ricky. It was no surprise to me that I was also welcomed into his family. Bonzai is a crazy character, always laughing and having fun. He also has a gentle and peaceful side which I was able to get to know as I spent more time with him.
There are many people who come and go from my life. None are coincidental, but some leave a mark larger than others. Ricky was one of those memorable marks.
Eight months of anticipation led to this very moment where I stood like a lost and not-yet-found puppy waiting to be rescued by someone who did not yet exist.