I met Gary while riding the Chinatown bus from New York City to Philadelphia. Our bus hit an insane amount of traffic and the bus ride that usually takes two hours, took four hours and fifteen minutes to be completed. Needless to say, we became friends right away. Gary is 65 years old although he talks with the same enthusiasm and curiosity in his tone as a young adult would. We were both feeling pretty exhausted after a long, hot, humid and busy day in the city. However our connection did not emerge from small talk, but from our desire to connect with each other. He seemed genuinely interested in everything I had to say; about my journey, about my opinions, about my sore legs.
He felt comfortable enough to open up to me and say how emotionally vulnerable he feels nowadays, more than 20 years ago. At first, I did not fully understand what he meant by that so I asked him what makes him feel this way. He answered me by saying that there are heavy waves of energy flowing and we must protect ourselves. Our souls. Inner peace has never been so important, in fact, the peace-seeking journey has never felt so necessary. I had no idea who this man was an hour ago, and suddenly I feel like I found someone that could translate some of my deepest emotions and put them into words. He told me the importance of being responsible about the energy we let out in to the world. The importance of being calm. The importance of simply being a good one. I might never encounter Gary again, but his words will stick with me forever. Luckily, I took a photograph of his hands since they were so full of life.