Traveling Hearts and Travel Reunions
Posted on 05 January 2016
If I could, I would collect all the people I've met throughout my travels, people who've made an impact on me and have inspired me to become a better person, and I would have one big celebration. We would talk, dance, eat, and share the experiences we have all endured since last meeting. That would be a dream come true!! I don't want to be a pessimist, but the likelihood of this grand reunion taking place is probably very slim. I've met inspiring individuals from all walks of life, and they live all over the world. Although it would be a dream, I don't think it's very likely that most of them could join for an international reunion.
I'm ok with having individual reunions for now and keep dreaming about the big one. One of my favorite things in life are travel reunions. You may not see a person for years, but once you meet up again (usually in a foreign land), things click. It's like time has stood still since you last saw each other. Of course life has gone on, but there's something unique about these travel reunions. You talk about family, love, life, and it's inevitable that there's a lot of talk about travel and all the places you've been since you last saw each other.
In 2015, I had numerous travel reunions and I'm truly grateful for each and every one. I always learn something from each of these encounters. A dear friend (and my #1 travel partner) and I met up 3 times in 2015 after not having seen each other for 2 years (that's not ok, Sarah, but we've definitely made up for it). Now, her and I have explored 2 different continents together and have celebrated NYE 2 years in a row. Great memories!
When I lived in Cali, Colombia for 3 months in 2013, I met a lot of people who I connected with. It was initially our love of salsa dancing that brought us all to this energetic and engulfing city. We left as different people (and dancers) in the end. Two Swiss ladies I met in Colombia had the great idea to make another dance trip and go to Cuba. Talk about killing two birds with one stone! Traveling to Cuba and having another travel reunion...yes please! Sign me up! We danced our way through the Caribbean island, talking to the locals, taking hours of dance classes, dancing till the wee hours of the morning, and visiting the occasional beach and historic attraction. Another fantastic travel reunion!
In 2015, I spent 7 months living in Seattle, which was the longest amount of time being back in the U.S. since 2011. It was a difficult transition. Coming from Latino cultures and living a completely different way of life for the past 3 1/2 years to the fast-paced, individualistic life of the U.S. was a hard adjustment. I'll spare you all the details (maybe save it for another blog post), but I definitely needed a breather. I was given a reprieve when a random traveler happened to be in my city for a few nights. We met up for dinner and caught up on life since we last saw each other in Arequipa, Peru in 2013. This reunion was much needed - I wanted to talk about travel, about things that only travel friends really understand. It was exactly what I needed to lessen the harsh transition I was enduring. Then, another random reunion unfolded soon after with a friend I met in Nicaragua in 2012. It was another much needed reunion that filled my traveling hearts' love tank.
Now, as I'm writing this post on a ferry to Phu Quoc island, Vietnam, I'm sitting next to another dear traveling friend who came to meet me for just over a week to explore Southern Vietnam together. It's been 2.5 years since we last met in Cali, Colombia. We've been immersing ourselves in the Vietnamese culture and have been loving every moment of it. We went salsa dancing in Ho Chi Minh City, spent the night at a Homestay in the Mekong Delta, and are now on our way to pristine white sand beaches and diving/snorkeling adventures. We will see what else unfolds on the rest of our trip!!
One more (that I know of) travel reunion that will be taking place soon is of a great friend who I met when I first made the move to live abroad in 2011. We both took the leap (individually) and landed in Costa Rica to teach English. We met through a mutual acquaintance and ended up living together and sharing in the teaching lifestyle of San Jose. I am forever grateful for meeting her and going on to travel all throughout Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama together. We also had a couple random reunions in Pennsylvania, and Hawaii over the past few years. Can't wait to see this lovely lady in Thailand in February!!
I can't wait to see what 2016 has in store. I know it will be a year of travel and hopefully a lot more travel reunions!!