One of my favorite aspects of backpacking and budget travel is your ability to easily strike up conversations with other travelers in hostels, on beaches, and just about anywhere.
Sometimes you click with people, and spend a few days, a few weeks, or even a few months with them.
During this time, you share amazing, exotic, adventurous experiences.
You bond with them in a way that you never did with your best friends at home.
And usually, there is an understanding that even if you only touch base from time to time thereafter, that person would be ready to host or help you if you come anywhere near his/her geographic location in the future!
I met hundreds, if not thousands, of people on my trip, and I thought it would be nice to revisit a few of those friendships formed along the adventure.
The list is quite long, so those I´m highlighting are likely the people I spent the most time with.
I met Linus (Sweden) on the way to Gili Trawangan, off the coast of Lombok in Indonesia.
The next night, we met Jessica and Laura (London). We spent a week together on Gili T and another back on Bali.
Linus is currently learning to fly helicopters in Hawaii, while Laura is busy working, and Jessica and I are searching for employment.
Adam was staying in the same cramped 4-bed hostel room as me in Mirador Mansion, Kowloon, Hong Kong.
He had the first ASUS eeePC I'd ever seen and helped me buy one a few days later at an electronics mall.
Besides exploring Hong Kong's arcades, we also took a 3-day trip to Macau and tested our luck in the casinos.
Adam is back in England, after additional travels in China and Southeast Asia.
I had a great time hanging out with my old friend Charlie in his home of 5 years, Chengdu, China.
I played a ridiculous amount of Guitar Hero at his apartment, and he showed me around town during my two-week stay.
Gela (Holland) and I connected via Travbuddy for a 10-day trek in the Annapurna region of Nepal.
She kicked my butt on the trek and is teaching back at home where I visited her last December.
She is planning a trip to India for later this year.
I met a lot of great people in my weekend Buddhism course in Pokhara, Nepal, after the trek.
In the black tank-top is Steven (London). We would later meet up again in northern India, and Thailand. I spent the most time with him, a collective 7 weeks.
He is currently working on a farm in Australia with plans to pay off his credit card and travel South America.
Marie (in a shawl to right) is also from England, and we met up again in northern India as well. It was a nice reunion.
She spent 6 months in Nepal and India and is now back in England.
Stefan (green/grey shirt to right) was hilarious, and I was glad to be hosted by him for a few nights in Bern, Switzerland this past January.
I met Natalie (Canada) on a 3-day rafting trip in Nepal.
We met up a little later in Kathmandu, where she introduced me to Cameron (Australia).
We met up once again in Darjeeling, India, and traveled up to Sikkim together.
Dave joined us for a 3-day jeep trip through the mountains to the far north.
Natalie spent 6 months traveling in Nepal and India and returned home to Canada to further her studies, while Cameron continued to trek throughout northern India, Pakistan, Iran, and ultimately Morocco.
After 14 years away from home, he finally returned to Australia a few months ago.
Rumor has it, he's developing a blog or website about trekking.
Josi and Catharine (Canada), and I got to talking on the ferry from Phuket to Koh Phi Phi and ended up spending the next 10 days or so traveling to Ko Tau, and ultimately Bangkok together.
They had just come from Bali, after previously competing in a dragon boat racing competition in Malaysia.
Both are back in Quebec, awaiting warmer weather!
Sebastien, Magali, and I all happened to be in the back of the same 4×4 on the bumpy track to Bulungula, a hostel/village on South Africa's Wild Coast.
I enjoyed getting to know them, and was thrilled to visit and stay with them in Biganos, France (Bordeaux region) this past January.
Amy and her boyfriend Joe met during their work in Uganda for the Peace Corps.
I bumped into them along with Amy's parents on a Nile cruise in Egypt.
It was nice to be amongst an American family from Wisconsin for a few days. Gary, the Dad, is taking the photo for us.
Martin (Germany) is on a 6-month paid internship at EAFIT University in Medellin.
It is part of a master plan he has to live and travel to a variety of countries including Brazil, India, and Japan.
I met him my first weekend in the city, and he has been a big help to me ever since, from introducing me to capoeira to helping me obtain a room in the same apartment as him.
But most of all, he has offered heaps of moral support and motivation for me to figure out how to teach English and learn Spanish.
Dave is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Go Backpacking and Feastio. He's been to 66 countries and lived in Colombia and Peru. Read the full story of how he became a travel blogger.
Planning a trip? Go Backpacking recommends:
- G Adventures for small group tours.
- World Nomads for travel insurance.
- Hostelworld for booking hostels.
- Rail Europe for train passes.
Sunday 29th of March 2009
Kat - once you give it a try, at least in the vein of backpacking and staying at hostels, etc. you quickly realize how easy it is to find companionship. Sometimes I wanted to meet people and nothing was happening for me, but those times were much less often than the times friendships materialized out of common activities and experiences. The loneliness doesn´t feel good at the time, but I think you have to accept it as part of the experience, and not be afraid of it. :)
Wednesday 25th of March 2009
I've been worried about the loneliness of solo travel, but this post has opened my eyes a bit. Thank you.