I had a wonderful holiday dinner on December 25, 2013 with my best friend in Taiwan and her classmates in Kiaohsiung city. There were about 25 people in the apartment and we all enjoyed a delicious meal together.
There was a couple sitting beside us a bit away from the group, so I went to introduce myself. The man I spoke with was from Toronto, Canada originally and he had been living in the city for a long time and returns regularly for work. It’s amazing how many people have had incredible experiences that we often will never know unless we have a conversation with them.
We shared some short travel stories but his story of surviving the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that killed over 230,000 people in 14 countries was unforgettable. We didn’t talk for so long but he told me when the tsunami came to his area, people started running out of the building he was in. If he had gotten out just 10 minutes later than he did, he wouldn’t be alive.
When I asked him how it changed his perspective on life he said, “I just don’t sweat the small stuff anymore. Before I used to travel but just for small trips, but now I work really hard for one year to save up money and travel every other year. I have enough to take me around Europe next year so we’re going on a trip. We should do it while we can and see as much as we can.”