I was driving, outside of town, in the countryside.
I saw him walking as I headed further into the country. He was carrying two bags. Walking with a slight limp. Carrying two duffel style backpacks. He walked with his back to traffic. He didn’t turn to indicate he wanted to hitch a ride. He seemed intent on the walking.
As I passed I thought how exciting. A traveler. I’ve read many books about people’s experiences walking across states, or countries. I admire them. I have pedaled my stationary bike across continents with these travelers and have enjoyed their adventures.
On my way back, I saw him again, still in the country side. It was such a gorgeous day for walking.
This time, he was sat upon one of his bags, off of the side of the road. His large, wide brimmed, hat was pulled so low I could just see the dark of his stubble or bearded face.
This time, as I passed, I noticed how he did not look up. He didn’t appear to be experiencing. His body sat motionless. Not moving. Not looking around. He did not seem to enjoy where he was.
And I felt something different than the admiration I felt the first time I saw him.
I felt sadness. I wondered if he was lonely on this journey. I thought maybe it wasn’t an adventure. But nonetheless, still part of his journey. Perhaps not as exciting as I first imagined.
Maybe he was lonely. Or tired. Even travelers out to experience the world must surely get tired.
I just felt different. From the first, to the second, time I saw him.
No matter his journey I silently wished him well in my head as I continued on mine.