If I find myself sitting in a bus or train next to a very chatty person I feel lucky. I know the time will fly and I won’t have to suffer for hours from boredom, staring at the monotonous patterns behind the window. Reading in a moving vehicle makes me dizzy, so I can’t entertain myself this way, and a talkative neighbor is the best thing that can happen to me in a journey.
I don’t care who this person might be, of what gender, age or profession. If he or she is ready to talk we’re great friends till the end of the trip. Everyone has a story to tell, and I’m curious to listen. Curiosity killed the cat, they say, but they are wrong, they don’t know better. On the road, curiosity is your best companion.
I once found myself on a plane next to an Irish man living between Paris and Moscow. In Paris his family stayed, in Moscow he worked. We talked for four hours nonstop and touched every topic possible. I didn’t notice neither turbulence nor extremely uncomfortable seats, and this is always a big win for those who fly economy class.
Long trips next to someone you never met before and surely will never see again help people open up and talk about things they would never bring up with their close friends and relatives. In a car that moves somewhere you feel surprisingly free.
During a long train trip an old alcoholic shared all his life with me and in the end asked if he should quit drinking. He was twice my age and it seemed quite absurd to me to recommend him anything, but I did. Or it sounded as I did when I simply told him what he had already decided himself.
If I could I would travel much more, not only because I love seeing new places but because every travel promises you at least one new story, a glimpse into someone’s life handed directly to you.