The other day, a female friend of mine made an off-handed remark about my travels and the people I’ve met along the way, most of whom are under the age of 30.
Commenting on all the pictures of myself hanging out with young people in different countries and at various festivals, she asked why I don’t hang out with people my own age.
|Yours truly with my Swiss friends Kamil and William at Tomorrowland 2023. FILE PHOTO
It took me all of two seconds to respond to her. I tend not to hang out with people my age because all they do is complain. They complain about their jobs. They complain about their spouses. They complain about the government. They even complain about the weather. It’s enough to drive you to drink.
When I travel and stay in hostels and meet young people, they don’t complain about anything. They’re too busy living life and getting the most out of every minute. In other words, we share the same philosophy.
Some time ago over the course of three or four years, I wrote about three different young people, all of whom died of cancer. Two were under the age of 10 and one was 18. All three of them had more wisdom in their little finger than most adults have in their entire lifetimes. And all three of them would have done anything just to spend another week with their families.
It was during this time that I made a conscious decision to live my life to the absolute fullest. In other words, I would make every second count and every minute matter. To do otherwise would be an insult to the memories of those same young people.
Part of that commitment was to travel as soon as I was able. It wasn’t until I acquired this paper and got an Aeroplan card that I could do just that and I have been making up for lost time ever since and along the way I have met some amazing young people from 13 different countries and four continents who I am proud to call my friends.
When I travel, I am often approached by young people who ask me for advice about their relationship with their partners or their parents, or on life in general. It must be the white beard and my grandfatherly demeanor.
The fact that young people ask me for advice is actually quite flattering and some-thing I am extremely proud of.
I am also a big believer in the theory that good people attract other good people.
I know this firsthand because I have met a lot of great people during my travels including Bente and Charlotte who I first met in Cuba in 2019 and who are responsible for my daughter and I getting back together.
Others who I have met along the way and have formed a lasting friendship with include Bente and Charlotte’s childhood friend and former roommate Saar, who is an amazing young woman in her own right, and Niels and Moos, who I met in Mexico last year and who are also from the Netherlands.
During that same trip to Puerto Escondido I met Laura and J.J. from the U.K., Ines from Belgium, Yan from Munich, Ivana from Argentina, Josefa from Chile, Zion from Montréal and Zach from Australia.
I also met Jackson and Jack while I was in Puerto and who are also from the U.K.
It was one heck of a week and one I will never forget if, for no other reason, than for the friends I made while I was there.
When I was in New Orleans for the Jazz and Heritage Festival last year I met Alex from Brooklyn. A couple of months later, he came up for the Montréal Grand Prix with his dad and we had a blast. More recently, he let me stay in his Brooklyn apartment while I visited New York City for a few days.
I met another group of amazing young people at the Tomorrowland festival last year including Kamil and William from Switzerland, Anne and Anna from Germany and Daniel and Colin who are also from Germany along with Emilie and Lukas.
I am probably closest to Kamil and William who are both in their 30s. Kamil and I went to the Ultra Music Festival in Miami last February and the three of us got together again for Tomorrowland in July with Anne and Anna and a new group of friends that includes sisters Melle, Eileen and Silvi, their brother Sven, Melle’s daughter Mila, and their friends Mike V. and Ryan who are all from out west. Nicholas and Laurence from Montréal where also part of that group. I can hardly wait until we meet again next year.
Others who I have met along the way include Clare from Melbourne, Valentina from Italy, Sannah from Winnipeg, Jordan from England, Ethan and Enzo from New Zealand and Nils from Germany – all of whom I met during my return trip to Puerto Escondido in February.
There’s also Jamie who I met in Madrid last year; Mauri, Josefina and Sr. Malibu from Argentina, who I met in Miami in March; and Ruya and Nil from Turkey who I met during my recent trip to Greece along with Poppy, Kristos and Oddy. All of these people have made my life richer for having met them and I can hardly wait to see them again during my future travels.
I once asked some teacher friends of mine what the best thing about teaching high school was? They both gave me the same answer – it kept them feeling young.
I guess that’s why I like staying in hostels and meeting young adults like the ones I have mentioned – it keeps me feeling young and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. .
(If you wish
to comment on this or any other View Point column please
write to Fred Sherwin at firstname.lastname@example.org)