In the oven-hot bus from Larantuka to Maumere, my new friend Bapak Richard Demu – a school officer retiree in Ngada – shared that he loved travelling no matter how far or close it is from his home.
“To travel is to respect others,” he winked with his animated face.
Blank air. Five seconds. Till I replied, “But to respect others, you need to understand them, right?”
Pak Richard nodded in silence. He’s waiting. “To understand others, you need to … ” he paused.
“Be connected,” I quietly shouted. “And to be connected you need to … ah, be open mind. An open mind – two open minds – will trigger discussion; create connection!”
We smiled, laughed and giggled. Pak Richard and I have “travelled” further than the bus. And we’re connected to each other better than the bus and the road.
And I’m glad I had him as my travel mate, no matter short.