Some people are incredible - unintentionally inspiring this 22 year old British fella when he meets them.
Just a couple of days ago, whilst we were in Mulu, we met a couple from Singapore who had travelled all over the world at various pints in their life, and had chosen Borneo as their next holiday destination. They were both ex-teachers, but had now retired, meaning they must have each been at least 60. They did all the treks we did, and made it up to the Pinnacles quicker than Dan did! (Sorry buddy but I think it's true!!) And the next day they were up before us ready for the trek back, and only at the end of the trail did we manage to catch up with them. They did not complain of any aches or pains, whilst Dan was hobbling around like a retarded John Wayne! We ended up sharing a taxi with them into town, and they were truly fascinating to talk to, hearing all about their past adventures and better still, their plans for the future.
They were really making the most of their life.
To further reinforce this point to me, as I was walking around on my own yesterday afternoon, (Dan was still in pain and elected to stay in making the most of the comfort of the air conditioning. He did manage to get out and buy pants though!), I found myself at the Miri City Fan, a collection of themed gardens that stretched out from an amphitheatre in the centre. it was a beautiful walk, and a really peaceful place. I sat under a pagoda to read, but was soon approached by a couple and they began chatting to me.
To make this story even more fascinating, it transpired that the lady used to live in Southbourne, just around the corner from where I live now,(further proof if needed that this World we think is so big,, is in fact not. Walt Disney didn't lie when he got those little puppets to sing that irritating song!) but moved to Great Yarmouth to be with her husband. They too were retired, but had done so earlier than they had initially planned. And their reason for this?
To make the most of the life they have left. The sad part of this tale is this: in the last 18 months they had lost three close friends and two siblings, along with the gentlemans mother, to various forms of cancer, the majority have which were under 60 when they passed. They said that after all of this they decided that enough was enough - they had gotten their children through University and now wanted to do something for them, and so in February this year they just left. They didn't know where they were going or what they wanted to see, but they wanted some experiences. They wanted some tales to tell, and a new chapter in their life to be written.
And so I spent the afternoon with them. We had luch. I listened to the tales they spun about where they had already visited and what they still hoped to do. They had no return date. They were in the hands of the Gods, being led my instinct, recommendations and The Lonely Planet Guides. They were staying in Backpacker Hostels and travelling in rickety buses. They were trying new foods and making new friends.
They were living a life that many people would hate, but more I think would envy.
It's meeting people like these that have helped me to realise again and again how fortunate we are to be able to have these experiences. I have tales to tell forever to anybody who will give me time to listen, and more just sitting in my head so when I am old an dercipit, sitting in a chair that stinks of my own urine, I can recall them and smile to myself, knowing that I had these times at least.
I hope there will be more.
The world may be small, but even the smallest things can take a lifetime to discover.