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Sometimes The Best Part Of Travelling Is People

Brian Barkley Winnipeg

WINNIPEG, MB – My wife and I regularly travel all around the world and while we’ve seen extraordinary sights, sometimes the highlights are the people we meet.

Not so long ago in Auckland New Zealand my wife and I were doing a brief river lunch cruise when a local couple engaged us in conversation and “adopted” us for a couple of hours..They chatted about their life in New Zealand and the man recalled interacting with soldiers in New Zealand in World War Two when he was 8 years old. Then at the end of our river cruise they went out of their way to show us a nearby local shopping area where we could get some essentials…Such a lovely couple. They were in their eighties but had a youthful active way about them. I want to be like them when I’m in my eighties. Auckland and the river cruise were memorable with so much to see but that extraordinary couple who went out of their way to engage with a couple of Canadians made that cruise much more special.

Recently while we were at a stop in rural Turkey, I paused and sat down to wait for my wife who was taking an extensive tour of a Turkish rug factory. I was quickly joined by a fellow traveller from Norway who was also waiting for his wife. We exchanged a few pleasantries and when I asked what he did in Norway he enthusiastically told me of his life as a pastor in Norway. It quickly became obvious he loved what he did. He had been involved in planting many new churches and his passion was obvious. He was engaging and kind and thoughtful and he also told of his recent heart surgery. He was overflowing in gratitude to the doctors and the medical system in Norway who had given him his life back after serious, complicated heart issues had given him a recent setback. We spoke for about 40 minutes and while we were strangers when we started talking, it felt as though we finished as friends.

While travelling in Turkey we had been accompanied by our tour guide; a lovely lady who was so helpful, kind and insightful for the whole day. She impressed us through the whole day but she was most memorable at the very end of our time with her. Just as we were about to exit the tour bus she paused and briefly broke from tour guide mode as she asked us all to pray for her country. It helped us to remember that while our day of travel in Turkey had been lovely, it is still a country plagued with relatively new upheaval from inside and without. It was a very personal moment I won’t forget.

Another situation arose unexpectedly at a village in Greece when my mood had been slightly darkened by a sore knee and by big crowds amidst a shopping area. I stopped for a moment and sat down. I was quickly joined by a man from Manchester, England who exuded extraordinary, sincere positivity. He had no way to know my mood wasn’t optimum at the time and he chatted sincerely about his love for life. His mood was contagious. I really enjoyed talking to him.

I’m not naive in believing everyone is wonderful but it is surely very affirming to meet good people around the globe. I hope when I encounter travellers in Winnipeg I can show them something positive as well.

Brian Barkley, MyToba News

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1 Comment

  • Don MacDiarmid says:

    Brian, what a great article, thank you for taking the time to put it together. We have not connected in over 20 years but I can see you are the same person who loves life. All the best and hope your world travels continue. I am sure those you met have the same story to tell about you.