A message arrived. It read he would be travelling through the tropical island on which I was staying. It had been close to six months since we first met and travelled together. I have always, wherever possible, made every effort to spend time with friends in person. A few messages back and forth we found an evening within our schedules to share stories over a drink or two.
My first fortuitous meeting with the man I mention now was in an ancient city of Morocco. A man well-travelled and far from home. We conversed over the days as our group travelled through mountainous roads, explored market cities, and camped on Sahara sands. The man’s confidence was indicative of a traveller, seemingly comfortable in his own thoughts and always welcoming with others. He told me upon our leaving to let him know if we ever had the chance to meet again. A genuine offer that he had kept.
Now, months later, here we were in the soaking humidity of a tropical summer evening. A small building down the winding back streets, paved in broken stones, away from tourists was our authentic place to eat. The small talk was finished with the arrival of plates piled high and first cracks of cold beers. Our conversation grew deeper with the passing hours. We talked of events that had happened since we last spoke, he leaned an elbow on the bar more as a place to rest than to support himself. Progressively he asked more questions than he answered, happy for me to fill the space between us. He intuitively gained more from my words than was spoken aloud. He read me with a wisdom gained only from years under one’s belt and different lands under foot. The evening drew to a close and I was given a parting pearl of wisdom from the soft spoken man beside me.
“It’s clear where you want to be. Where your passions lie. You should follow that.”
“I know but right…” I began. He hadn’t finished.
“Don’t keep waiting for a more appropriate time, because all of a sudden you’ll be old,” he spoke with a soft smile full of memories, looking down for a moment rubbing his troublesome knee “All of this, the travel, gets a little harder. The beds have to be a little softer, nights like this a little shorter, the physical journey has to sadly be a little easier”
These were almost his parting words, as we went our separate ways not long afterwards. I know I will see him again. It could be a long time, and a long way from where either of us call home. But I know I will see this Wise Man again.