8/5/20 Ecuador represents…

   An average person gets up in the morning, does his daily morning routine then makes it to work. Day after day, this average person has only a few things on his mind. One of them is bound to be the past or the always slowly approaching weekend, depending on which side of the week he is on. As the seasons change from cold to warmer, our average person can’t deny anymore that summer vacation is more and more on his mind. Planning, discussing the plans, bragging to friends and dealing with tingling in the stomach area.. we’ve all been there. We have all seen these simptoms in others and have noticed them in ourselves and we watched them grew progressively as the summer approaches. The average person works to be able to go on vacation but what if I told you there are not so average people out there who travel for a living?

  Destiny has a way of bringing certain people to your path only when you are ready for them.  And we were just about ready for Enrique, an ecuadorian on his endless wourld tour, a photographer and an adventurer. On the way to our meeting point at a gas station on a motorway on the way to town we were wondering how many cars are going to the football (soccer) derbi match in Maribor and since it was a big game, incidents might happen. As we turned onto the gas station, we saw a bunch of police cars accompanied by a few police van and a guy, so obviously foreign and not knowing what’s going on and really happy to see us at that moment. Before we were back on the motorway, I asked him: So, what did you do? and shrugged in the police direction. Luckily he found the joke funny and his laughter was a firm foundation for a great weekend.  We did explain the police presence, though.

  We got to chatting over some chicken with cinnamon seasoning and a salad. Yep, even an experienced cook can sometimes mistake red pepper powder for cinnamon but a great cook makes it into an exotic dish. We laughed it off and enjoyed the christmas smelling chicken. It vanished soon as we were all hungry and we couldn’t really focus on anything else. After dinner, I guess I recovered some of the brain functions and started connecting the one backpack with his world tour, by that time going on for two years already.. But the biggest shock was realizing that more than a half of a backpack was occupied by rollerblades (“To get around faster”) and a tripod for his camera. For the average person we were mentioning earlier, bizzare priorities but Enrique was far from average. As far as possible. For the next hour and a half we spent listening to his amazing stories, wondering about his enthusiasm and admiring the courage to go after this kind of a lifestyle. Imagine discarting all possesions, detaching yourself from all things, impregnated with memories and emotions, imagine being unable to hold your favourite coffee mug or stare at an ugly but precious picture on your wall, reminding you of someone special, imagine being away from everything and everyone important in your life..but on a bright side, imagine how much more room you instantly aquire for new adventures, new memories and new important people in your life. It takes courage, no doubt.

  We went out to party that night in the jazz club I met Mitja. Not even tommorows plan to go hiking very early in the morning didn’t stop us to stay late and really go at it almost as proffesional party people. I was full of helpful advice how to maintain the energy for next day’s endurance challenge like we should drink a lot of water, only dance to slow music and walk to and back from the bathroom as many times as possible. Ironically, this strategies worked on everyone else but me. I was on the brink of death half way up the hill, luckily there was an easier shortcut to the finish, totally ignoring the top of the hill and focusing more on the beverages.  Of course, I had to drag Mitja along with me but we asked others to take Enrique with them, he was so eager that he wouldn’t miss it. By the time they came back, I recuperated a bit and we went on our way. After lunch Mitja took him to Ptuj to make some nice photos and maybe some of his talent actually did rub off on Mitja, his photos were amazing. He learned a few new tricks of the trade from the master himself, absorbing all information like a sponge. I was able to take some time off in between and cook us a little something for dinner. Another early morning awaited us with farewells and wishing luck.

  We will probably never see him again, we will gradualy lose touch. Our paths crossed just briefly, an insignificant encounter amongst so many others on his vaste lifelong adventure. We will admire his photos on internet from time to time, flooded with memories and warmth and questions about his destiny. But we will always know who took the craziest picture of a crazy couple, that is us.

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