It starts out as a giggle, but quickly morphs into some unknown being taking hold of my body.
Deep, loud roars of laughter permeate the air.
My nose tingles and soon I find myself unabashedly snorting.
Then there is near silence…only if you listen closely can you hear a grandpa-like wheezing as the laughter continues.
I am in a taxi in Myanmar sharing a hilarious moment with the driver minutes after meeting. Shortly thereafter, our conversation ranges from the constructs of socialism and democracy to his father's political imprisonment to his happy marriage and my dating mishaps – all through broken translations with impossible hand signals. How did we get so close, so quickly?
I ask entirely too many direct, personal questions. I am genuinely curious about others and reciprocate with radical openness myself.
My one-hour taxi hire soon extends into ten days. He introduces me to endless local friends, teaches me how to spit betel nuts, and surprises me with the best Burmese birthday cake possible. I, in turn, infect him with constant laughter, from calling out the monks for taking selfies to starting a local arm-wrestling tournament.
This is how I travel. This is how I experience life. I choose vulnerability and depth mixed with adventure. I want to ask people, "What is your story?" then listen deeply to their answer. I want us to laugh, snort, and wheeze – together.