The most amazing experiences while you are traveling are most likely the ones that you can’t plan for. Today while wandering around after a church service at Westminster Abbey (I think the choir there was voiced by actual angels…) a friend and I stumbled upon some extremely talented street performers. The first one we saw was a group of guys in colorful clothing and playing catchy music. The show was cute and funny, but it was their familiar sounding accents that made me want to stop and talk to them after they finished. Sure enough, they were originally from Ghana. They were so excited that I was familiar with their country and had lived there (although they first made me “prove it” by saying something in their language). It was a great experience because here I am in a strange city with 8 million people, and yet I can share a bit of life experience with a street performing group because we both have eaten red red and know that Ekua means “Wednesday born.” This is what travel does–it allows you to experience different walks of life and through that you are able to better understand the people you meet. Travel also makes the world feel smaller which is important because it can be overwhelming to think about the sheer size of the world (especially while living in a city of 8 million).
I was also reminded today of a term my sister recently taught me. Sonder. The realization that each random passerby is living a life that is as vivid and complex as your own. Soon after talking with the Ghanaian street performers, we stopped to listen to a woman who was singing and playing guitar. I’m not exaggerating when I say that she might be the best singer that I’ve ever heard. She sang a song in her native Portuguese that brought tears to my eyes and made me forget to even film it. I have no idea what the words she was saying, but she sang so passionately and beautifully that her point was very clear. We spoke to her afterwards as well, and learned that after a tough go of life, she moved to London to pursue music and performing. Her name is Susanna Silva and I definitely suggest that you check her out (http://www.susanasilvamusic.com). She seemed like such a beautiful person and was just a much needed reminder that everyone has a story that is worth being told. You just have to be willing to take a few moments to listen.