To escape. To write. To be with one's own creative and imaginative thoughts. Even so, every simple interaction is worth presence.

Living in a small town, to find time to just sit and write and let thoughts pour in, away from your comforts and distractions of home, you can find yourself chatting with people who pass by to say hello and share their story. Whether you're at a cafe, or the local library, there is always someone.

Have you ever met a stranger who opens themselves up to you, tells you their name, or asks of yours? There is always a story in a name. What if you had five to ten minutes of their time? What could you discover?

You see, my life, it is an accumulation of hours shared with strangers. I get to discover so much. And I would not want it any other way. But when you got to get things done, well, a cafe perhaps is not the ideal setting, no matter how far you are from home.

I escaped up the Dorrigo plateau, a good 30kms from my home town, to sit at a cafe where I could spend the day to write. The stranger the locals see is of intrigue. Me. Don't get me wrong, I am a big fan of connection and chats, as said, but today was a quiet, pen on paper kind of day.

Two ladies were chatting away about their recent train journey and characters they met along the way. I could not help to overhear, as that is me. I tried to stay well away from intruding with my prying gaze. But it wanders, it does.


So minding my own, they turned their gaze and bodies towards me and asked me what I was doing, and if I was a local. It was only a matter of time. I answered them with the story I just shared with you of why I find myself at this cafe today. I spoke of my heritage, where my name is from. And one of the ladies speaks of where she is from, "I live out in the sticks, on the rolling hills of Dorrigo" She chuckles with pride, as I picture in my head these hills I have driven through numerous times whilst living here. My head wanders to the pristine rainforests they once were, destroyed by humans choosing cattle over trees. They leave me to be, their intrigue satisfied.

I sit alone, writing away. Sunlight pouring over my table near the french doors. I overhear conversations on today's political views, or where the travel will take someone around Australia next, their personal endeavours and educational pursuits. And not once do I have to be directly involved. A 70 year old man visits my table hoping that I can help him take the caps lock off his phone's text messages; I could not. Technology fails me.

The stories are infinite. There may be nothing grand about the time shared, or there could reallybe a life changing quote enter your world from another. A floater and observer of this life, it's all I can wish for.

I, as I believe we all are, share a curiosity for one another - who are you? Do you have a moment perhaps? The lines in between from every interaction always speaks these words to me. Do I have a moment? My answer is always yes! No matter the deadline, or the need to be in my thoughts and words. The answer is always yes.

My prying could be my procrastination. Yet, the curiosity always leads to a story. This is why Voice Within exists.

Simona Galimberti