When we first commissioned NASA to take a plastic, inflatable globe into space, it was to help test our theory that no matter where you go on Earth, if you ask people about the things that matter most in their lives you'll discover we really are all just the same.
We've already found many stories that seem to confirm the theory, but now, thanks to Cmdr. Jeff Williams' final, random stab at the globe, we have the definitive story to prove it. This one takes us to Southern Indonesia on the island of Bali, where fate handed me perhaps my most relatable story ever.
(Scroll down to watch the video.)
Wayan Sriani lives with her husband, Wayan Kamar - their first names are both Wayan. When I first met them, their lives seemed so different from ours in the United States. He makes bamboo furniture by hand. She makes regular offerings to the Hindu gods. They live with their two children on just $10 a day.
Wayan and Wayan say life is perfect -- except for one nagging problem, one issue they just can't seem to resolve.
When asked how many times a week they think a married couple should have sex, Kamar replied, "I want it to be every day."
But his wife said, "We can once in a while, but if it's too often, it's tiring."
She says, after spending all day cooking the meals, taking care of the kids, and gathering the banana leaves for the offerings, the last thing she's in the mood for is messing around.
While he says he requires sex to stay energized at work. Basically, he's a man with needs and she's a woman who needs sleep. He's the honeymoon -- she's the headache.
Kamar talks about the issue to almost everyone, because he's always looking for "the best solution." He says he's tried meditation and yoga, but his drive just won't mellow. He also sent his wife to a healer who prescribed a boiling brew of leaves and liquids. She was supposed to drink it twice a day to feel frisky. But she didn't drink it. "I don't really like to take a lot of medicines," she said.
I kind of had to agree with her on this one. So I suggested to him that maybe he should forget the leaves and give petals a try. He said he's "never" given her flowers. He says guys in Bali don't really give flowers -- although he has asked his wife to suggest other romantic things he could do. But he said she doesn't answer him.
It's so fitting that I went all the way to Bali for a story I could have just as easily found in New York, or Topeka, or dare I say my own home.
It just goes to show that when you dig beneath race, religion and politics, you'll almost always find someone you can relate to.
In fact, after travelling around the world twice telling strangers' stories, I've concluded the only real difference between humans is that some people on Earth live for purpose and meaning - and the others are men.
Read Steve Hartman's Travel Blogs:
Meeting a Panda in China