Human Connections sometime come at a cost.
When my wife and I decided to leave our jobs, one of our main motivations was to connect with more people. The importance of getting out over our skis and having true moments with strangers was paramount.
We met this young lady, Nikita Jo Walker, on a tiny island, Simeulue, off the Western coast of Sumatra in early September.
I read this article today while in the airport waiting to fly home:
"Tragedy as female pilot, 30, is killed after crashing in bad weather into a remote mountain range as she flew to pick up a group of tourists"
She was there to charter boats for tourists and spend some time with her boyfriend. We were there to do some volunteer work and see the world. We happened to take a car with them back to the “one flight a day” airport en route to the mainland. We learned she was a pilot in Tanzania and that, after traveling around the world for many years, she was ready to settle down. She insisted on playing the “Into the Wild” soundtrack in the car, which, given my love of all things Pearl Jam, was fine with me. I told her “Society” was my favorite song on the album. It speaks to me now more than ever as we make this life pivot. I always find it interesting how I don’t hear the lyrics of some songs until it is time to hear those lyrics.
We only spent an hour with her but we shared a bunch of great stories and connected. There are plenty of positives of connecting to others and I have spoken often of the many bonds we made with refugee children, other volunteers and locals throughout our travels. But there are moments of pain like when I read this news today.
This post is not about the fragility of life. I think we are reminded of that every day. This is about the willingness for someone like me, who has avoided emotion for most of my life, to feel a little pain, to endure a little fear in the hopes of relating to others. News like this can rip your heart out, but it is worth it.
I knew her for an hour, but the thought that she is gone has stayed with me for much longer. It doesn’t seem like a great trade. But maybe I have been looking at this all wrong. Maybe the connection will continue and be stronger in a way that may not make sense to me right now. Maybe it won’t.
But living a fear based life and turning to drugs and alcohol did not let me truly feel anything. I hurt today, but I have to continue to take that leap of faith, the one I avoided for most of my life because of how I feel right now.
Even today, I know it is worth it.