I’m constantly amazed at what a small world this is. When I was a teacher in Los Angeles, it seemed like I could never go anywhere without running into one of my students. Now as I travel the world, I run into people I know in the most unusual places.
The most common occurrences are simply finding travelers who are following the same route you are. When I was in the Balkans, there were not that many cities to visit, and invariably I would see travelers who had been in the same hostel with me a couple cities back, or who were headed to the hostel I had just left. This also happened in Thailand, the Baltic countries and even in the UK.
There are a couple stories that stand out more than any. In November, 2015 I was in Chiang Mai living with another blogger, Celia for a week. Btw, she’s the one I got lost in a jungle with. One day while I was at a cafe working on my blog, Celia pm’ed me to say that she had just been accepted to work at a hostel in Kuala Lumpur as part of Workaway. Ironically, I had just been accepted five minutes before by the same hostel! That was completely uncoordinated between us. But it got better. A couple days later I was going to my Facebook feed and saw that another good friend whom I had met in Krakow a few months earlier had posted that he was currently in Malaysia. That was Juliano, and when I told him I was headed to Kuala Lumpur too in a few days, he said he was working at the Travel Hub hostel and that I should stop by to say hi. That was the exact same hostel I was going to be working at! When I did arrive at the hostel, I ran into two more friends who spent nights there while I was working!
My favorite story is from June, 2015. On June 15th, I checked into the Falling Lakes Hostel in Korenica, Croatia. A few minutes later, another girl checked in. When the manager asked her where she was from, she said a tiny town in the Netherlands no one has ever heard of. As she said that, I started bring up my blog post for Middelburg. She mentioned the name the same moment the page loaded. Turns out her name was Caro, and we had a bigger connection than that.
In my trip to Middelburg, I stayed with two different couchsurfing hosts. On the first night I stayed with Inge, whom had thrown a big part with a vegan potluck dinner, movie and band performance. There were only about a dozen or less people at the party, but amazingly enough, Caro was one of them!
The next night I went to stay with Tsjalline. Turns out Middelburg is quite small, as Inge knew her personally, and she brought me over to the student accommodations where Tsjalline was living and helped her cook an amazing dinner. When I mentioned this to Caro, she said that at that time she was living in the room right next door to Tsjalline! What are the chances?
There have been so many more instances. Last year when I was on the Isle of Skye, I randomly met the owner of the Tour Skye company. This year I ran into him two more times, once at Eileen Donan castle and then again at the Talisker Distillery.
In Cambodia, I met Gwen on a bus ride and found out we had explored Angkor Wat on the same day. I then ran into her again in Thailand, again in Malaysia and then saw her in Vancouver when I visited for a couple days with my dad!
The stories go on and on. Maybe it’s just that travelers are the ones that get out to explore the world, and then run into each other at hostels and attractions. It makes us a great community. As I always say, there’s no such thing as goodbyes. Only “See you laters.”
Oh, and I have another big hug for Gloria Atanmo of The Blog Abroad the next time I see her sitting on a bench under a tree in a random city.