Meeting acquaintances half way across the world

What is it about traveling that makes us so open minded? So ready to take on whatever is thrown at us with a smile on our faces and adventure pumping through our veins. When we fly to another country to explore does our mind switch from our regular routine, regular friends, regular personality to one of pure openness and excitement that makes us seem more attractive to others? What about the people that we meet? Have you ever met someone traveling that you automatically didn’t give a chance to, like we might do at home?

The backpacking community seems to be one that is tight, like an unspoken friendship between everybody, new and old. You walk into a hostel and instead of being greeted by other guests with dirty looks or just being plain ignored, you are invited into their card game, asked if you want a drink, where you are from and where you are going. Why is this? Do we travel to make friends? Are we scared that we will be alone in another country with no one to watch our backs? Are we excited that other people around our age are doing the exact same thing we are, traveling the same places and trying to find themselves as well?

I traveled to Greece in 2013 with my best friend since junior high. We both had a lot of different friend groups, and got along with almost everyone. When we arrived in Santorini Greece, we were walking down to the beach one night when someone called out to us by name from another hostel… it was 3 people from our home town. The same age and grade as us, that went the same schools we did… except we had never really talked or hung out before. We knew who they all were and they knew who we were, but that was about it. So why when they saw us across the world did they feel they needed to call out to us to hangout when at home if they saw us in the grocery store they would have just walked on by?

We ended up having a lot in common, obviously, we grew up in the same town, knew the same people, went to the same school, and as fate would have it, traveled to the exact same place at the exact same time staying only a few minutes away from each other. We spent the next few days together, going to the bars, having beach days, eating lunch and dinner together, hanging out by the pool, introducing them to the other people we were traveling with, and we even rented quads for an entire day with them. It seemed like we found old friends and just picked up where we left off, it didn’t seem like we had never talked before in our entire lives…

We added each other on social media (if we didn’t already have them) and they continued to follow the rest of our adventure, as we did theirs. We would “like” each others posts, and maybe comment here and there, and then we got home. Back to the same town we both grew up in, the same lives we led before. We stopped liking and commenting on each others posts about every day life, and we never kept in contact or asked the other to hangout at home. It was like our few day adventures where we spent almost every waking minute together never happened.

Why are we so open when traveling, but then close off when we get into our comfort zones? Do we secretly enjoy our daily routine, our regular friends? Then why do we yearn to travel again so soon… why does the travel bug take over our everyday thoughts when we could have the same mentality as traveling at home?


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