Write something that someone told you about yourself that you never forgot.
I’m sure there are plenty of things people told me about myself that I never forgot, but when put on the spot, I can’t really remember, except one. But before I tell you what it is, allow me to first paint a background picture (if you want to cut to the chase, skip to paragraph 4).
Once upon a time, a long time ago, I went on a city trip to Sweden, Stockholm to be exact. My initial goal was to find viking stuff, but as it turns out, that’s more Norway and there wasn’t a single sight of Viking heritage to be found in Stockholm, except for one: a viking ship. They had rebuilt a wooden boat, dragon head stern and all, and even the crew was dressed up (be it that they did wear modern baggy pants under their viking shirts and modern sandals… It was a hot Summer after all). The boat did regular tours around the islands of Stockholm and on my first voyage I noticed the captain was a pretty good looking guy. I had forgotten my camera, so when the boat docked, I ran to my hotel to get it, ran back to be in time before it left again and took some pictures with said captain and he even wore some viking props to make it look more real.
The next night was my last night in Stockholm and since I was traveling alone, I decided to be a bit more adventurous. If I totally bombed, I was going home the next day anyway and would in all likelihood never see him again. So I took the last cruise of the night, which was 2 hours instead of an hour and a half. I spent the first hour plucking up the courage to go talk to the captain, while listening to an American sitting next to me, who was telling me his whole life’s story. Eventually I went up to the front and spent the next hour having a very animated conversation with the captain, and even got to sip from his mead. When the cruise ended, I lingered behind, while the crew was finishing up and changing into their regular clothing. A friend of the captain came and we chatted while we waited for the captain (let’s call him Erik) to return. While we were waiting, Erik received a phone call and his friend told me it was probably his girlfriend. Of course I was devastated. I thought it had really clicked between us. So soon thereafter we took our final picture, said our goodbyes and I went back to my hotel alone, and home the next day.
I don’t really remember why it was so important to me, but I wanted to keep in touch with him, even though he hadn’t given me an email address (I also hadn’t asked, too busy trying not to show my pain). Mind you, this was before Facebook, so I couldn’t do any Facebook stalking either. So I found the boating company and emailed them with the ruse that I wanted to send him the pictures I had taken and they sent me his email address (with his permission, of course). Erik and I started emailing, and later chatting too and we became friends. We talked about that night as well. How things hadn’t been going well with his girlfriend and how he had been planning to break up with her and had intended to go with me, but then she called and I don’t know if she told him that night or soon thereafter, but it turns out she was pregnant, and so he stayed with her.
But the thing he told me, that I always remembered, was that he considered me to be a world citizen. He admired me for traveling by myself to see the world. Later, when I traveled to America by myself to meet friends I had only had online contact with before, more people started saying similar things, how they admired my courage to do that. I didn’t even think about it being brave, for me it was just something I really wanted to do and looked forward to. Not all trips were a fun experience or a success, but all were experiences from which I’ve grown as a person.
Erik and I eventually lost touch, but I never forgot that he said that.