“So, are you a traveller?”
Charlie starts talking to me whilst all my attention is focussed on the magic computer in front of me, his eyes are bright blue on a young innocent face, upper class English accent (Lake District).
“Yup, hold on a second”, I finish what I was doing to talk with him.
Yes, I am, I've been here and there, I've done this and that.
He asks a lot of questions about solo travelling: how do you start a conversation with someone? (didn't you just do that, Charlie?) are you ever homesick? how can you afford to travel for such a long time? are you ever bored? why are you travelling? where are you going?
I am the first long-time traveller he meets (I've met similarly dangerous people in my past as a tourist and that's probably one of the main reasons why I've finally decided to roam freely myself), he seems genuinely interested in my answers but the more I speak the more I feel like a patronizing prick that should try to be a tad less serious, my turn to ask some questions.
“What about you, Charlie?”
He's in Nepal to be an English teacher for five weeks.
He's based in Kathmandu but he's now in Pokhara for a short holiday.
First time he's out of Europe.
When he'll go back to the UK he'll have to finish high school.
He is seventeen.
What was I doing when I was seventeen? I don't remember.
I really don't.
I certainly wasn't in Nepal on my own.
I didn't even know that Nepal existed.
Charlie, when you'll end up in some Indonesian jail, just covered by a dirty rug, greasy hair and a blank stare lost in infinity, I hope you'll remember the first traveller you've ever met.
And be thankful.