My last post about the freemasonry of the Central Asian road was largely inspired by a gentleman by the name of Taylor. I met Taylor 4 years ago in Singapore. At that time, he had just arrived from Rome. Yes it sounds pretty normal, except he did not arrive by plane. It took him 2 years, overland, through one heck of a hitchhiking journey (except for one leg across Afghanistan where he had to fly due to extreme safety concerns). He had hitchhiked cars, trucks, ice-cream vans, animals, basically anything that moved. When he told me he had done this from Rome to Singapore, I remarked “you are one crazy dude.”
We met at a local CS gathering, and of course he had plenty of stories to share. The most surprising thing I recall him telling me was that he had hitchhiked from the Botanical Gardens to Little India (2 locations in Singapore), and I did not believe him. I said that people in Singapore are too busy and careful to allow random hitchhikers on board their cars. He proved me wrong. Before we bid farewell that evening, Taylor issued me a challenge – “Baby steps my friend, begin by trying to stick your thumb out and hitchhike in your own country!”
The following day I tried to do that outside my apartment, to no avail. I was disappointed, but I guess it was a tiny victory as sticking that thumb out felt a lot more difficult and awkward than I thought it would be…
… 4 years on, I have since hitchhiked in Singapore, Myanmar, Indonesia and most recently Kyrgyzstan.
Today I received a note from a friend, telling me that Taylor had passed away last year. While travelling back home to Canada, he was hit by a truck in Africa. 6 years of his hitchhiking vagabondage across the world came to an abrupt end.
What exactly did we talk about that one random night in May of 2011? I honestly don’t remember much. However, I do recall how he inspired me to do something as simple as sticking my thumb out, and to let the road carry me home.
Through my travels, random encounters such as the one I had with Taylor inspired me in a small way, but grew to have such a large impact of my outlook in life. RIP Taylor!