In 2016, I went on a long rail journey from Ho Chi Minh City all the way to Thurso, a small fishing town in northern Scotland. While waiting to board a train in Beijing, Myrna helped me with my luggage. She was the only person on the entire train who did not speak Chinese, so I offered to translate for her when necessary.
I would say, she was pretty even though she did look aged. Her complexion was still good and her make-up was proper. What attracted me most was her energetic face with a big bright smile. I was pleased when I realized that we were going to be in the same cabin for this three-day journey.
Myrna emigrated from the Philippines to Australia with her husband right after she got her chemical engineering degree at the university. She then pursued her medical degree, worked first as a nurse, and went on to pass the Australian Medical Doctor Registration exam. During all these study years, she also gave birth to three daughters and one son. She is now a doctor practicing at a private clinic, a medical lecturer at a university (specializing in diabetes), and a medical volunteer who spends two weeks every year in a remote village in Africa.
She told me, when we settled into our shared cabin, that she got on the train alone to follow a to-do list from a book titled “One Thousand Places to Go Before You Die.” She said, “No one is going to design what my life is to be like for me. To plan it and try my best is what at least I can do for myself…” To my question of whether she was enjoying the train trip, she showed me the photos she took on her chunky camera and started talking about her new venture being a photographer.
I then shared with her my travel plan, where I have been, and my list of to-go places. She clapped her hands and kept saying phrases like: well done, good for you, that’s wonderful, life should be like this… At first, I thought she was just being polite. My assumption was proved to be incorrect immediately. I was touched when she gave me a list of places that I did not mention (mostly the places in Africa and Eastern Europe). I truly felt blessed to have spent time with her along the journey. Her enthusiastic tone and loud laughter filled our cramped space throughout the three days.
Then, to my surprise, when I asked about what sheenjoys the most when not traveling or working, her answer was — organizing parties! Yes, she got plenty of practice for every member’s birthday party as she has a pretty big family. And a surprise party for her son’s 18th birthday would be her next exciting project. “Love, you know, is the fuel that moves the universe,” she said with a serious expression. Being a solo travelerand proud of myself for it, it’s hard for me to put together the images of an adventurer and a family-party lover. But she was right in front of me, undoubtedly convincing me of the possibility.
We bade farewell at the station of Ulaanbaatar, “Good luck Jessica, I will remember you!” In fact, it is her love of life and her seriousness about living a fulfilled life that I could never forget!
生於台北，10歲發現自己很倔強，迷看書; 20歲師專畢業成為老師，開始獨立自主；30歲進入企業，開始專業經理人的職涯；40歲在越南獨資創營人資管理企管顧問公司，為夢想奮鬥；50歲功成名就，以高價將公司賣給業界全球最大公司， 毅然退休， 開始雲遊四海，在臉書上記錄旅程與生活點滴； 60歲陸續拿到領導力培訓課程及專業企業教練認證，繼續為成就他人志業做貴人… 目前疫情無法旅行， 只好在6個讀書會裡享受書裡乾坤， 今年參加樂寫，想圓我的作家夢！