“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all”…Oscar Wilde
Gibbs shared his story – visiting all lower 49 states – as part of a personal pilgrimage. New Mexico was the last stop on his journey. That evening he had made his way into my place of work to share his love of food (chocolate) and travel.
It was his last night in town and he marveled at how unique and wonderful Santa Fe was as the fall light faded in the west. “There is no place like Santa Fe” he declared, sipping his hot elixir. We periodically conversed between customers and his reading. Born and raised in India. He now calls DC home. Tomorrow morning, he would be returning to the east coast to his family and life. As night settled around the shop, he thoughtfully sampled another elixir.
As Gibbs stood to leave, he thanked me for my hospitality and the wonderful elixirs. I wished him well – wondering out loud how this man came to such a dream – visiting all 50 states (he had yet to visit Alaska). He did not answer. He simply smiled and nodded in acknowledgement as if I too knew the answer.
As the door closed, I felt a tinge of inspiration move through me, as if having just been in the presence of a someone or something divine. I found myself moved by the connection with this man having just completed his journey. I felt his sincerity and his desire to know more about the world around him. I felt a kinship in our humanness and our unspoken desire for something more than just a mere existence.
As I started closing down the shop, I had the realization that I too was a journeyman…only the kind you cannot track on a map.