So I was in the local laundrette situated close to where I was staying in Zagreb doing, yep you guessed it, my laundry. I selected a light 30 minute cycle, paid my dues to the automated machine (this is a complete self-service operation) and took a seat whilst enjoying the free Wifi. You've gotta love these modern perks.
Half way through my cycle a man walks in, funnily enough, to do his laundry too. He looked a little scruffy, his skin slightly leathered and was I guessed of Indian or Bangladeshi descent. He was pretty much the first Indian-looking fella I had seen in all of Croatia I shortly afterwards realised. When my cycle finished, I moved my clothes to the separate tumble dryer, slotted in my tokens and activated the drying cycle. It transpired that when the Indian fella's washing was done, he also moved his stuff to the other tumble dryer situated on top of mine but he entered his tokens into my machine topping up my drying time. (I can see how this could have been done). Seeing the error of his ways he approached me and mentioned this - which the start of a short, but rather surprising conversation.
He refused to take my money for the extra minutes I was going to use and I felt a little bad as he'll have needed the coins more than me.
Uh uh. Envisage that sound an incorrect answer gives in Family Fortunes.
In the next five minutes I had learned that:
This man had travelled to 95 countries. Holy maloney. He gives seminars to people in a lot of these countries. He basically inspires people to consider making that all important lifestyle change. How apt I thought, but I didn't need a life-coach - just a pair of kahunas.
It gets better, he worked in Wall Street for JP Morgan - one of the worlds largest companies and biggest banks. He says he was continually burned out and that he also met someone who he described as a 'high-flying' lawyer. Together they sought a better life and so they gave it all up two years ago and have never looked back and there new found passion, whilst travelling, is to share their experiences with others.
I wasn't in there long enough to go into detail about my story but I listened intently to his pearls of wisdom which culminated in him telling me, definitively, that if I do not get up in the morning and enjoy what I do, I need to make that change. Lucky for me then I'm currently absolutely loving waking up in the morning.
So there are two morals to this story. The first is of course a classic, to never judge a book by its cover. No matter how many times we hear that phrase, pretty much all of us will likely continue to make that initial split-second assessment right up until our final days.
The second is about making that change. The last thing I said to him other than the obvious goodbye, nice to meet you type thing was in response to his motivating line from above. I said 'Sure, I hear you but its really not always that simple, right?'.
He said: 'Of course isn't - but that most certainly shouldn't stop you trying'.
One to ponder over then folks.