Over the weekend I lost a friend in a vehicle accident in Panama, he was there with about 25 or so other travelers who are all part of my travel family the Nomradness travel tribe. A group of them (12) loaded up in a van, while in route, the brakes went out on the tour van and it went over a cliff. Two of the members died, and there were other severe injuries, Nigel was among the fallen.
I don’t have an intimate connection to grief, I don’t know how to send love and light, to cry. Sometimes I feel like there is a vault in my chest, this vault keeps all the grief that swells, I don’t know how to unlock it. I don’t know how to make it vibrate my bones.
I have watched as other members of my travel family have changed their profile pictures for solidarity, members got together all over the USA to mourn together. There have been a ton of well wishes and reflections and everyone prayed. I did not, I don’t know how to access god like that, I wish I did. Nigel, I wish I had the tongues to tell god not yet, to let him know that you still had work to do, here amongst friends you were a glacier in an ocean full of rocks, A solid man, a warm soul.
About 20 or so days ago, a flight deal to Abu Dhabi dropped on Christmas Day, when I started looking at flights and seeing who else was going I saw that Nigel was travelling in September so I knew that is when I would book my trip. We started talking that day about where we were going to stay and how we can split the cost for a room, If we would go to Dubai and how many days we would stay.
I wonder if Jesus knew on that day that Nigel would soon be with him.
I wonder if while we were all internet searches and Facebook posts, god was preparing a place for him. I was not there in Panama but I know if I could rewind the clock to minutes before that moment your laughter probably filled up the entire van. That your spirit, once removed from your body, casted protection over other members of the group.
I had not seen Nigel in person since we hit Playa Del Carmen with up in the air life travel group. We were there for a International House Music Festival, it was there sitting on a rooftop drinking Hennessy and smoking some Dominican Cigars that I realized that Nigel was one of the beautiful people.
That our internal compass both pointed due north. while the pulse of the city played in the background like a mariachi band working it self into a drunken frenzy, we talked about everything under the sun, from marriage to travel to living a life of purpose, one that we designed for ourselves. Like the scene in inception, I think Nigel will always exist there for me. Deep House Music, and sunlight breaking through the clouds. Waves crashing, a tide returning back to shore, A song on repeat, the soundtrack of every adventure.
An angelic shadow of cigar smoke and life. I know there is a party in heaven right now, with DJ Big Dose on the ones and twos!
Travel well my friend
Nigel i don’t have the words to write you an elegy, the letters would not arrange themselves, just know you will always be the Big Homie, I wish there was more time…
Due to the overwhelming costs of hospital bills and the very costly process of returning the bodies of our lost ones back to the USA for burial, a fund has been set up to donate via paypal. If you would like to donate, Any amount would help. Donations can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org on Paypal. Please put ‘Panama Support’ in the memo section.