A Chance Encounter

20 Nov

In the months before our 2013 retirement to Mexico, I met a man who got on my commuter bus in Austin, Texas. He was over six feet tall, African American with striking white hair. Ben greeted the bus driver by name and many of the passengers. My job had just changed locations and this was a new route for me. Little did I know what an interesting fellow he was with escape plans similar to our own. A lovely friendship ensued.


Stock photo from the Cap Metro website.

I looked forward to our daily chats on the ride home from our respective government jobs. He was a number cruncher for the State Insurance Commission and I worked for the Department of State Health Services.


The roof going on our house.

Ben retired a few months before I did and set off for Peru. He had done his homework and found a furnished room that would serve as home-base for his many travels. Lisa and I got busy with our own adventures and communication all but ceased.


One of the many pictures we received from Ben.

Last year I received news and photos from his epic around-the-world-trip. May to October 2015. Lima, Peru to Miami, New York, Helsinki, St.Petersberg, Moscow, Japan, Beijing, Houston, Detroit, Cleveland, Philadelphia, New York, Miami and back to Lima. Whew! We were up to our eyeballs building our dream home, and a bit jealous of his freedom.


My friend Ben with a native fisherman on a Japanese island.

This week I was very pleased to receive an email from Ben asking how we were and how life was treating us. What a pleasant surprise! After a year in Peru, he is leaving soon for East Africa and a forty-county tour that, as he put it, “may take the rest of my life to complete”.


What an amazing man. I am so grateful for our chance meeting three years ago. Hopefully his world travels will bring him to Mexico. Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall for that visit?!



10 Responses to “A Chance Encounter”

  1. LJones November 20, 2016 at 10:16 am #

    Another great post! I love that you wrote about “possibility” in the everyday, right where we are. What an amazing man…and how fortunate for you, Alex, to have met him. I am inspired to look at my day differently now….thank you and love to you both (and Alice):)

    Liked by 1 person

    • afish25 November 20, 2016 at 10:38 am #

      Adventure will always look different to each of us. Some of us will be happy to sit on our front porch. I love knowing Ben and I have a great front porch.


  2. brucekelley November 20, 2016 at 10:20 am #

    Thanks, Alex, for introducing us to Ben, what an amazing man!

    Liked by 1 person

    • afish25 November 20, 2016 at 10:39 am #

      He really is Bruce. He came to my birthday party before we all left Austin. I loved getting to know him. I hope we meet up again.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ellen Heath November 20, 2016 at 10:22 am #

    Oh I just love this post, and it is so true! I went to Europe recently and averaged walking 6 miles a day without even trying, as well as experiencing lovely people/culture from different countries. Thought I couldn’t afford it but did it anyway, and now looking forward to my next trip. Thanks for sharing the story of this man. I want to be like him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • afish25 November 20, 2016 at 10:43 am #

      Ellen! You went to Europe instead of coming to see us?! I’m crushed. Only kidding. So glad you are having adventures.


  4. Jack Scott November 21, 2016 at 4:55 am #

    What a way to retire!


    • afish25 November 21, 2016 at 12:12 pm #

      I know. Having a beautiful home does not contribute to our world travels. 😐


  5. emilievardaman December 20, 2016 at 5:33 pm #

    Ben seems like someone I would love to know. Perhaps he’ll wander southern Arizona one day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • afish25 December 20, 2016 at 7:51 pm #

      I just got his pictures from Africa. Absolutely amazing.


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