Last summer while in Chavin, Peru for a short trip, I met two English brothers. It was the most random and God-ordained encounter. It was late, and we 7 Americans were hungry. (the husband & wife I was with, our interpreter, and the American family living there) We had just come back down the mountains from visiting an old woman who spoke only Quechua. Since none of us knew the language, we simply spoke Spanish to her and I’m pretty sure she understood us. It was an unreal experience.
Anyways, after we came back down to the town, it was dinner time. We headed to the place than any person in their right mind would head – the rotisserie chicken restaurant! I don’t remember the name of this one in particular, but basically they serve rotisserie chicken, fries, and a salad. It’s a staple meal in Peru and I miss it!
We walked in, sat down, ordered in Spanish, did the whole normal restaurant shebang, when these two extremely tall, dark-skinned dudes walked in. They sat down, ordered in broken Spanish, then just stared at our group. After what seemed to be a split-second decision, one of the men asked our table if we spoke English. “Yes, we do.” “Where are you from?” “The United States, you?” “England.”
And thus began our two-hour long dinner with two English brothers.
They regaled us with stories of their world travels; of which I am extremely jealous and can only aspire to achieve. England is so different from the States… they make time to travel. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the England natives I know have been to more countries than I have states; traveling is a priority especially within the younger generation.
During our two-hour dinner, we drank Coke, feasted on chicken, fries, salad, and discussed so much. Topics ranged from language-learning to traveling, from currencies to holidays, from camping stories to religion. That last topic is one of the main reasons I feel like God led those two brothers to the same restaurant as us (other than the fact that the food was amazing!) I mean, they had been backpacking all over Peru and just by pure chance happened to be in the same town at the same time in the same restaurant as us… definitely a God thing!
Dougie & Nick had travelled the world, seen so many amazing things, yet never discovered the Truth, or the One who created it all.
Romans 1:20 “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
They had seen so many things that displayed God’s love and power, yet they had never truly experienced or come face to face with Him. (despite the fact that they were raised in the Catholic church) While we sat and ate, we shared Bible verses and personal stories with them. We didn’t want to shove God down their throats, but we wanted them to understand Him more and ask us any questions they had about becoming a follower of Jesus. It was such an encouraging encounter. Those brothers had so many questions and arguments to raise about faith and religion, so it was a learning experience for me as well… hearing the point of view of other people raised differently than I.
After dinner we made plans with the brothers for the next day. Plans included going to a school and acting out a Bible story, and exploring some ruins! So the following morning, Robert (our interpreter) and I joined the brothers in exploring the ruins at Chavin. We had so much fun wandering around, making up stories of what life was like hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years ago, and getting lost in the tunnels. Quite an adventure!
We didn’t have a tour guide so we made up our own ideas of the history of Chavin!
I’m sure a morning exploring the ruins was interesting for the brothers, but compared to their other travels, I bet it didn’t amount to much. One of the reasons I envied their lifestyle is that they were backpacking all last summer. May, June, July were spent backpacking and traveling to dozens of countries. They simply took off work for a three-month stretch, and set out to explore the world. Among their long list of places was Peru, Ecuador, Columbia, India, Iceland. One backpack each, one tent, a sleeping bag, a change or two of clothes, hygiene items, money, and a water bottle is all they carried with them. Each town they would stop in, they grabbed supplies, stayed in a hostel, and moved on. I can’t even imagine how much ground they covered on their journeys. I do know that they saw more natural beauty than most people see in a lifetime. And although they were sometimes pelted with Peruvian rain, scary encounters with Indian monkeys, or sweltering Columbian heat, they enjoyed every step of their trips.
Taking the less travelled road (in this case, the hiking trails!), despite the difficulties that come, is usually most advantageous & worthwhile to the person and the journey in the end.
By a chance encounter with two English brothers, I got to share my life experiences and learn from theirs, plus share a small, fun experience together. And someday, I hope I get the opportunity to do what they did – call in sick to work, pack my belongings in a backpack, and take the first flight out of the States that I can. I’m already saving up for such a trip! Anyone want to be my travel buddy??? 🙂