The Italian
September 22 2021 11:15 PM
Shefa Ali
Shefa Ali

By Shefa Ali

I am on the last leg of my summer trip in Croatia, which has to be one of the most beautiful countries I have ever visited.

Part of the reason I love to travel, is because of the people you meet along the journey. Last night while we were waiting for our table at a popular restaurant, we met Dario from Italy. Dario works in New York, but since certain European nationalities cannot enter the US directly at the moment, he is doing a 15-day stint in Croatia after a visit to Italy, so he can get back in to NY and start work again.

We exchanged pleasantries, and the usual small talk about which islands we have visited and which places had the best food.

When we finally got our table, the waiter seated Dario, on the table next to my husband and me, so we continued our conversation. He asked us about what we do and how long we have been married. Then I asked Dario ‘Are you married?’ There was a long pause, a deep sigh and then he disheartedley said ‘It’s complicated.’

Dario then shared the whole reason he was in Italy was to try to work things out with his estranged wife. The trip didn’t go the way he planned, “I really don’t know what to do” he said shaking his head.

At that moment I saw myself in Dario, I physically put myself in his shoes and thought back to  times in my life when I had tried really hard for something and it didn’t work out the way I had wanted.

Listening to others stories can move us and affect us in so many ways. People stories can penetrate our feelings, whether it’s empathy, sadness, joy or motivation.

Meeting people while travelling reminds me, that though our stories maybe so different, we all have the human experience in common, no matter which corner of the world we come from and live in.

We all go through hard times. Sit with an old man and ask him how he got to where he is in life. Ask the successful independent woman about her journey and how it shaped her into becoming the woman she is.

My challenge for you this week is to ask someone to share a story with you. Maybe you could ask a friend or a family member about the experiences that shaped them into the person they are today. Listen to how this experience changed them or inspired them.

Listen to people’s regrets, how they did or did not do something and how it will haunt them for the rest of their lives. Listen to people’s first time stories. The first time they travelled alone or the first time they fell in love. Listen to people’s wishes for a better future. Their hopes for humanity and their personal dreams.

This is why I love meeting people, everyone holds a story that is unique and often untold. I know things will work out the best for Dario, whichever way the story goes, and that’s true for you and me too, life is always working out in a way that’s best for us.

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