I live a simple, yet adventurous, and novel life. Though I focus on collecting life experiences more than anything, I’ve realized over the last few years that this one tiny item I collect instills positive energy in me. What is it? I collect my subway cards from around the world! Cards that have served as my entry into the fast-moving world of trains are a metaphor for what excites me. A train moving at light speed, whipping around unknown corners, suddenly hitting the light of day if only for a moment before disappearing into a long tunnel again, reemerging in a novel part of a city, with adventures awaiting just outside the fingerprint smudged door = extreme curiosity and spontaneous happiness. These cards remind me of all the occasions I took a chance in life. They remind me of the serendipity involved in travel, the value of being in the right place at the right time. They remind me of all the times I’ve witnessed humanity and culture in an everyday place. They inspire a sense of wonder and the feeling of being suspended in a bubble of the ordinary lives of others for a few precious moments as an observer. They signify the perspective I’ve gained in seeing we are all the same, no matter where you are.
The near-misses that occur in life are thought-provoking. So many of the people I’ve met while exploring the globe were in moments of pure synchronicity (or complete randomness, depending on your life view). If I had finished my Americano 5 minutes sooner and caught the earlier train, I would never have met so and so, who ended up becoming an engaging travel friend. In the spirit and wonder of the mystery of moments, I honor my dear collection of scratched up and well-loved subway cards. They signify the brilliance of getting out there in this big and beautiful world, willing and even excited to get temporarily lost while taking a chance that enduring and meaningful moments and learning will materialize.