The Syrian

You never know who you’ll run into while traveling. A great example of this is a guy who I’ll call the Syrian, because I forgot his name (just kidding, I think his name will be branded on my memory for the rest of my life). He spent much of his childhood in Syria, and at some point before he reached adulthood, he was being taken care of by a German family. I didn’t ask too many questions, but if I had to guess, I’d say his Syrian family knew bad times were coming and found a way to get him ‘adopted’ in a more stable country.

This guy is fucking awesome! He’s a programmer; he invested in CryptoCurrency; his skills make me a little jealous.

But beyond the basics, he’s just an all around nice guy. One afternoon, he went into town and bought a bunch of supplies. Then, he cooked an amazing pasta and fish with sauce dish (I know, my descriptions suck). Mid way through cooking, he realized he’d forgotten to buy cheese. So I went down the road a bit to a grocery store, and bought some. Not only would he not accept me paying him for the delicious meal, he insisted he pay me back for the cheese! We’re travelers, man; we can’t just be blowing money like that. So I got one of the best meals I’ve had in Greece for free.

Once when we were talking, he mentioned that he’d volunteered at some refugee camps in Germany looking for his mother. After a while, he gave up, and concluded she was dead (to be fair, that’s what everyone else was telling him too). Then, he heard some people had spotted her (or at least someone that looks a lot like her) in Greece. So he booked a flight down to look for her. Now he’s preparing to take a bus out to the Turkish border, hop off every once in a while, and try to see if he can find her somewhere along the way.

It’s no secret to my friends that I don’t get along with my parents, but hearing his story, even my heart broke a little. He obviously cares deeply for his. He told me it was easier when he didn’t have hope. Now he’s stuck in that terrible mental space where she might be out there somewhere just beyond his reach. If I was still religious, he would definitely be in my prayers.

This is what happens when you travel. You bounce around the world having a good time, then something comes along and slaps you across the face, and reminds you that the world is still a fucked up place in some areas. There’s still way too much hate, violence, and grasping for the ring of power.

But the ring of power will not be controlled by anyone. It corrupts all who try…even cute, care-free hobbits. Hell, I’ve seen it corrupt me in times past.

Sorry to bring you all down, but I felt this was a story that needed to be told. May we never forget the horrors humans are capable of. And may the mark we leave on this world make it a better place…for everyone.





Update: I saw him again, and learned that he found his mother at the Greek/Turkish border! The last I heard, he was going out to see her, and re-connect. So this story has a happy ending…which is great, because not all of them do.

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