He sat in the opposite aisle on my train looking at me tapping his foot annoyingly vying for something that I had no intention of giving this strange young man, my attention. He was probably a simpleton, mentally challenged in some way or possibly hung over from the night before. After all this was a morning bloody train from Waterloo! I had paid my fare so was entitled to be immersed in my own private insular preoccupation. Yet here I was confronted with this unfathomable task of speaking to a stranger – who threatened my slumber.

“Sorry!” I spat out at him as he aimed an unintelligible question at me. If he didn’t get that I was NOT to be disturbed by my body language he sure as hell would get the message now.

However, this peculiar young man held my eye and touched me with his smile. I was less guarded now as I listened to him repeat the question. Damn you stranger! I thought to myself why would you be inconveniencing me at this bloody time in the morning on a train with friendly conversation…this guy was obviously in some way disturbed, surely.

But he did seem genuinely interested in me and his probing opened me up a little more. It could do no harm I thought if I humoured him somewhat with trivial banter. After all my destination and escape route was close-by so i could soon be free from this awkward encounter.  And so it was that I left this “strange” young man and went on my way to briefly ponder what had just happened.

The following week on the same train to the same destination I found myself sat right opposite the same young man with the same unarming smile. Surely this was more than just coincidence and we both knew it. The conversation flowed naturally and I was quickly warming to this quirky travelling companion. Geoff, his name, was not a student or unreformed hippy as first thought but a part time Vet, Film producer, director and actor. Well he had my full attention now. His Veterinary work was, he explained simply a means to an end, the end being to bring his film scripts to life on the big screen.

This young man was fascinating in the extreme not just because he was following his dreams but also because he seemed to radiate optimism and a genuine thirst for life. I have always been attracted to “characters” but Geoff really made an impact on me. He had awoken me from a “Sleep Walking” state of mind. I suddenly became aware how closed to outsiders I had become over the few months I had been commuting in London. Surrounded by thousands of fellow human beings and fellow citizens yet totally detached from every single one of them and thereby alienated from my own intrinsic humanity.

Needless to say this time round I was intrigued by Geoff with his many talents and infectious energy. We talked non stop, swapped cards and promised to stay in touch.

Over the ensuing weeks I discovered that Geoff was a man on mission to not just make a film but to make a real difference. He explained how his goal was to meet and connect with three stranger’s everyday in London and imagine if everyone did the same what a difference that would make to the world we inhabit. Sounded a bit feely touchy I agree but I further discovered that this was how Geoff lived his life. There didn’t appear to be any huge ego or vanity about his dream of making films and he was determined to enjoy each part of the journey good and bad. He seemed genuine, authentic and full of wisdom and humility.

Geoff sent me his script, I advised him on how to blog his story. He listened to my musings on how best to build an online tribe and implemented almost everything I suggested. Whilst I read his blog, I learn important lessons about life that I knew but had all but forgotten. My humanity has been reignited.

Thank you Geoff for disturbing my “sleep” on the train.

Paul Young

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6 Responses to “Testimonials”

  1. Anne June 13, 2009 at 4:42 am #

    That is a sweet and humane recollection by him of the encounter Paul Young had with you Geoff (above). I sense that karma, serendipity, whatever you want to call it, is a powerful energy that operates often below the radar of our thinking consciousness; and reading this incident has sorta reminded me of that. The fruit of this ‘chance’ encounter seems to indicate for sure that your ‘path’ is the right one for you, albeit perhaps an unconventional one by worldly standards. Not just unconventional in particulars, (although going from long years of vet studies and practice to film making, actor etc is probably unusual!), but being prepared to take risks, follow your light and heart to your best ability, regardless of any financial compromises necessary, is rather beautiful and surprising in this materialistic world we all inhabit, well in the ‘west’ anyway.
    I suspect you have been blessed to recognise younger than many that the pursuit of money and possessions (whilst well and good to use and wisely deploy), do not of themselves lead to or create lasting ‘happiness’ or satisfaction. That is my feeling anyway, from what I’ve read and sensed in my own life, and via my own errors or judgement.
    The real satisfaction and joy can only come from trying, and maybe even sometimes ‘failing’ ? to follow YOUR way, as it presents itself in your unique circumstances and choices … It’s recognising what the Eastern religious traditions call your ‘dharma’ – your best righteous path in this life, your heartfelt and honourable road, that calls to you in the voice of love, enthusiasm and truth.
    I don’t think there are any fixed ‘rules’ as to what how this should appear to each person… eg It may express itself as a worldly busy life in the midst of people, or as a recluse or monk… The outer way doesn’t matter as much as the joy and satisfaction that follows for the person, in knowing, deeply, they are following their hearts yearning.
    Then I feel the lessons will be learnt, and if success comes, and even lots of wealth etc as well, then it will be born of joy and satisfaction, not false ephemeral glamour. And the person won’t lose ‘themselves’ in the process. And if life doesn’t shower lots of material abundance, well your peace and sense of self won’t be destroyed, either, and you won’t ever have to become bitter or wonder with sadness a in years to come, ‘if only’, or ‘I wonder if I …. ‘. etc.
    It will be a life well lived, and meantime I do feel much good will come to you, if not in one way, or directly, than another. Your courage and spirit of adventure will bear fruit.
    Be brave, be good, be humble if you can. And keep on trusting and learning : )
    Warmly, (and with apologies if needed for my unsolicited stream of consciousness thoughts, lol ! )

    • geofftalbot June 13, 2009 at 9:16 am #

      Hey thankyou so much for encouragement!

    • Annie Brody July 24, 2009 at 6:28 am #

      Serendipitous, indeed! A news article about tripod dogs drew me to this blog and your comments, Anne. Thank you for a timely reminder and for articulating it so well. And Geoff, thank you for the inspiration and for what you are doing for the 3-leggeds. Dogs are my dharma, too. And my heart has led me to want to give them freedom to be in nature, in a pack, off leash, with their humans so for 5 years I’ve been offering retreats for dogs and their people in the mountains of Western Massachusetts (Camp Unleashed). What keeps me going is just the deep knowingness within my heart that this is my true calling, my way of giving to dogs, who I love more than anything else in the world.

  2. Jaime Merrifield May 12, 2009 at 6:11 pm #

    i too,am a Veterinarian (jmedvm on Twitter;www.jmedvm.blogspot.com,also @hospice4animals,www.hospice4animals.blogspot.com)trying to make a difference in this world.ironically i lived in London for 1 yr (did 1/2 A level course age 17)and contracted Brucellosis which i had for 15 yrs before discovered. i am currently writing and trying to contribute in a bigger picture way.(1 book on how animals benefit human health,other on my experiences,advocate for facilitating formation of animal hospice movement http://www.iaahpc.org,and just began twitter and blog site in last few days to have an independent place for people and veterinarians to discuss the sensitive issue of the terrible/wonderful issue of euthanasia, pet loss,palliative care etc.(no judgements here about that continuum can explain more abt what led me there but you probably geshtalt all that). While looking for DVM’s on Twitter (and trying not to follow the more popular #DVM which eventually i discovered was a “Dirty Vodka Martini” which had flumoxxed me reading posts I thought referred to …well you can imagine!A Twitter moment ;-). anyway i as usual digress but assuming re the above you know..)i found posts about finding Scrap. weird thing kid AFTER i became disabled a dog wandered into my daughters Montessori school’s yard needing an amputation….his name is ALSO Buddy but guess where he ended up?it is a great stray story for a star.he is extremely athletic and eager to please,a larger spotted Aussie mix,rear leg amputation but keeps up with the other 4 but has had to work on establishing himself with another top dog,but loves everybody,very cute and my daughters favorite.will send you pics in next few days(just had major surgery)but am completely taken with this particular chain of serendipity…..more layers of which if i started to try to convey here would seem unreal,but then ……take care,sincerely jaime glasser merrifield dvm ms Arizona,USA just glad you two can find meaning in the commute and chance encounters i miss London/Europe/uncomfortable here in US IS the world mentality Ta! >^..^<.


  1. This Blog Saved My Life… « Seven Sentences… - April 29, 2011

    […] Testimonials […]

  2. Talking to Strangers « Seven Sentences… - February 25, 2009

    […] The man who wrote these words, wrote these words about me, he was a stranger I met on a train. You can read the  his words by clicking on https://geofftalbot.wordpress.com/testimonials/ […]

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