'" I'll see you again." Its a phrase I use almost daily. I almost never say good bye, not because I am fearful of saying it but more because chances are, I really will see them again, no matter if I am in Uganda, Zurich, Lagos or Prague. The world is a huge place but people make it feel small. We are always moving, bumping into each other and making connections. The more people you meet, the more connections you create, the tighter, and thus smaller feeling your web gets.
I have had so many small world moments. From a business meeting at a bank in Accra that led to discovering this guy was my Facebook friend, introduced by a mutual friend who knew I was moving to Ghana. To the new friend from Botswana occupying the office is next door who was in the same a Harvard class as my former roommate in San Fran (yeah Nicole!). Not only that, they were super good friends. We called Nicole together and she about had a heart attack. In Nigeria, the minister at the church a few months prior went on the same tour as my parents in Israel and knew them well. And in Israel, I spent two days touring with Kurt Hoyer, who once lived in Kenya. He climbed Kilimanjaro with a friend of mine in Dubai and at his home, he served me Kenya tea given to him by my favorite people in Nairobi. My favorite is when my driver in Senegal was transfered to private security in Ghana. After months of not being in contact, I was about to miss my flight to Liberia and literally bumped into him in the Accra airport. He was able to hold the plane, walked me to my gate, and gave me a hug - 'See you soon.'
All these experiences (and many many more), have made me believe that we see the world not by topography or geography but through people, through interactions, through relationships. We, or at least I, get meaning out of my environment from those who are in it, those who I share it with.
Many people have asked me if my current lifestyle is lonely. Understandable question. I am on 1-2 flights a week. But my answer is always 'no.' And I mean it. Yes, I miss my family, road trips with my best friends, long chats with my siblings and of course a traditional Thanksgiving! But in all my travels, I have created connections and built small lives all over the globe. I have a local number for every country, core friends who get texts when I land, a favorite local beer, a familiar run and Googlers who are always happy to see me.
Last night I hosted Thanksgiving dinner for around 30 people, only 3 of them Americans. There were people from over 8 countries many of whom I met for the first time as they walked into my house, others met through random encounters. But needless to say, we were all connected, at least for the a love for food. It was an amazing night due of the relationships created, making the web a little tighter. Its these relationships formed that make Ghana and my $60 turkey feel not far from home.
Mom, I'll see you soon!
Mom, I'll see you soon!