Something about talking to someone in a cafe or sitting at a table and chair with a coffee and maybe at the dining room with a meal.. You set the scene, you invite intimacy and revelation. Cafes endeavour to do this with the use of old comfortable furniture, or the vibrancy of the colour theme, even the dark, dimly lit corners. There are plenty of outside options for communicating sit down picnics, barbeques, sitting on verandahs with a wine or on the beach.
We can do both at home and we have a vibrant colourful backdrop of green trees and often a cooling breeze coming off a creek below our home to create atmosphere. Or we can sit inside with groups of couples or just one couple to enjoy a more intimate conversation.
All of that can create atmosphere but its often not the location, the scene or the look of a place that invites intimacy – it is the relationship that you have with the person opposite. The time you spend with them, the discussion that you have about food or activities, or emotional journeys that develop a friendship.
Sometimes you feel a yearning and desire to recreate this -so off you go again to another part of the world with your favourite person, or just your family to get that wonderful feeling again.
I have been reliving relationship journeys with some very interesting people who have written their life journey in books. One which fascinated me is Saroo Brierley’s incredible description of the heartache of his first long journey when he was five years old, very poor, endeavouring to match his brother for attitude and bravery to get food or something to sell to supplement his income – in a railway station. So he ends up on a train, locked into the carriages and thousands of miles away in Calcutta. His brother had disappeared, and he had no money or any language the same as these others in another part of India. He knew no Bengali, I think he spoke Hindi. He survived nearly being pimped, having no food and sleeping out until somehow he ended up in an orphanage. They fed and washed and clothed him – until an Australian couple adopted him. He came to Tasmania, very bewildered but hopeful as these people were much richer in education, home life and family support than in his home village. He missed his family terribly and eventually though the support of a girl friend and Google Maps he located his home. The movie “Lion” and his book ” A long way home” are amazing accounts of his emotional turmoil and eventual return to his home.
Latika Bourke’s story is similar. She was handed to a Catholic orphanage in India by her desperate mother, and then came to Australia as a small baby. She had no language, her siblings were two Australian children and two other Indian orphans not related. She ran from her past then eventually visited and fell in love – her big disadvantage was no language and no memories of her family. Her book “From India with love” documents this journey.
Both have benefited hugely from their adopted situations and family and are using this knowledge to return, support their families or orphanages and countries.
Their journeys highlight our need for common experience, language and interests to develop a conversation. My diverse travel experiences have shown me that when we trekked, walked and used one or several of the common ways of travel in a country – we met more people and had really interesting connections with them.
When you cut yourself of and use the tourist way you limit your conversations and ability to communicate with the locals. Location is not a common bond, it is the common experiences and desire to communicate.