When I first travelled to Australia for my Working Holiday, I quickly realised it was a way bigger adventure than I had anticipated. I felt lonely and completely unsure of how to approach my sudden burst of freedom. The first couple of days in Sydney I had spent with a new friend. But when she moved on, I was alone. It was tough and I felt clueless. Then I met a really nice British guy in my hostel room. He had been on the road for about a year and a half, and he had plenty of travel experience. He took the time to talk to me and make me feel at ease. He gave me tips for travelling and finding work. Talking to him really made me feel heaps better. Talking to him gave me the confidence to make this big adventure work. And I did.
After a few months in Australia, it was time to hit the West Coast. I’m one of those people that want to go where not ‘everybody’ is going. And since ‘everybody’ was going to the East Coast (where I’ve been as well), I really wanted to see the West Coast. I can confidently say it was ‘the coast less travelled’. Busses went up the coast only once every few days. So it happened that I got ‘stuck’ in tiny Coral Bay for about five days. Lucky for me, I quickly befriended a Norwegian girl and we spent most of the time hanging out, chatting, watching movies, swimming. It sure made our time there a lot more fun! Unfortunately, I went back down to Perth and she went up to Broome. After all these years, we still talk and send eachother Christmas cards! 🙂
During my first time in Dunedin, New Zealand, I met a man, Alan, at the hostel I was staying at. He had sold his hostel in Nelson (Alan’s Place) some time before and had since then started a hostel in Christchurch (Canterbury House). He was very friendly and I had said that I would try and stay at his hostel when I got into Christchurch. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. When I went to New Zealand two years ago, at some point I ended up in Christchurch. This time, it did work out to stay at Canterbury House! 🙂 When I arrived at what I can only describe as a very homey hostel, Alan’s eyes lit up when I told him that we met eight years earlier and that I made a special effort to stay at his hostel this time because I remember our nice chats. 🙂
During that same travel to New Zealand, I chatted with more people than I probably do in my daily life! It’s so easy to connect with other people and I enjoy it very much! I love hearing about life in other countries. What clearly stood out for me was an Australian father and son I met at the Lazy Dolphin Lodge in Curio Bay. They had come to New Zealand for a holiday. It was clear to me that this father was doing everything he could to give his son the best holiday the kid ever had. It was so heartwarming! The boy loved it, they made a great pair! 🙂
That same year I went to Canada for two weeks. I spent one week in Calgary, Alberta. I had decided to take a Greyhound to Banff. On the bus, a very nice lady sat down next to me and we chatted the whole way! She’d recently moved back to Calgary from British Columbia and made a ‘quick’ day trip back to her old town for some errands. We chatted about so many things, it was wonderful. We realised we would be on the same bus back as well. So after a wonderful day in Banff, I hopped on the Greyhound back to Calgary, only to discover that this very nice lady saved me a seat! We chatted some more and more and more. Back at the busstation, she ordered a taxi and let me ride it with her for free! So nice! Isn’t it funny how it just clicks with some people and then never running out of topics to talk about? I just love it when that happens! 🙂
Maybe that’s part of the magic of travelling? The people. Sure it’s about nature, exploring new cities, eating different foods, but one thing that always gives it an extra dimension for me is the people. The people make the stories. I just enjoy reminding myself of that every once in a while. And then I can only smile when I think about all those wonderful people I met from all those different corners of the world. Moments like that make me feel like a true world citizen.