There is a young man from a very small town that lies not far from the base of Mt. Rainier that befriended me when he was a Senior in High School. He would visit me every day and ask me questions while I was working so I would hand him books and various other reading materials to busy that inquiring mind. After he graduated, I advised him that it is great to look forward to college and consider the same school as his girlfriend but we are 18 years old only once in our lives. Having been raised in a small country town has its benefits but it also has its pitfalls and I suggested that he consider taking the opportunity, if possible, to travel while he has the opportunity with freedom without responsibilities because there will be a lot of time for marriage, having children, getting a career, buying a house, etc.
This young man took this advice to heart and has traveled to countries I have only dreamed of seeing. He has stories and tales with several books worth of photos as he worked for food and survival cash. My young country friend decided to drive across the United States after travelling out of country and arrived in Manhattan, NY at 2 AM. Upon arrival he parked his car in the garage of a skyscraper and proceeded to ask the night attendant if it would be okay to sleep in his car. At my husband's advice, he dressed way down in order to avoid looking like a tourist and as a result of his paint spattered and torn clothing he found himself before an appalled night attendant and locked out of the building and in the streets of Manhattan at wee hours of the morning.
As he stood there wondering what to do, without any of his belongings, he wandered down to Time Square, walked to the Statue of Liberty (it was closed of course), went to the famous park for a distant view of the Statue of Liberty all the while looking like a homeless person with a map. I laughed so hard as I envisioned a version of a Washington country bumpkin wandering around the streets of New York scared and in awe with tattered clothing and a paper map. Now that is an experience that not many would dare to chance in the middle of the early hours of the day.
It is exciting to hear his stories when he returns from his walk-about. I do worry about his safety but that is a part of the amazing stories he returns to our home with. If anything, he will be able to write several volumes of his life experiences as a young man.
For the record, this young man also attended Pierce College and has his Associates Degree in Business. He has the goal to get his Bachelor's but he decided to see as much of the world as possible before settling down. This young man is so smart, daring and curious that there were a few concerns regarding his curiosity and tendency to dare to do new things with a sense of naivety that youth so often brings. He chose a different way to answer his own questions about the world, about society, as he seeks answers to his calling in life. He is truly turning into a worldly young man.