“That’s the ideal meeting…once upon a time, only once, unexpectedly, then never again.”
― Helen Oyeyemi
One of my first memory is of a boy I met called Richard, from Texas, when I was a kid my parents took me to a swimming pool in San Salvador, it belonged to a bank and was available for the bank managers to use with their families. A family friend took us.
At one point I was alone, with Richard. I could not get out of the pool so Richard dived underwater and sat at the bottom of the pool so I could stand on him to climb out of the pool. We had my first ever deep meaningful conversation. I was 10. From a half an hour conversation I knew, as a child that this boy would grow up to be an incredible human being. I have looked for him for years but all I had was a name. Richard from Texas.
In this post I want to tell you about a few encounters which I have greatly appreciated. Not in order as I will write as I remember. I have no contact details for these guys.
A song for you, per usual. Like to write and listen so recommend listening while reading 🙂
1. Charlie – UK
I met Charlie in Singapore May 2017 – The Bohemian Chic Hotel – We had an interesting conversation just 15 minutes before his bus came to pick him up. He liked salsa and worked in marketing for hostels. We were both going to Glastonbury festival in the UK. He was sweet, interesting and cheeky. I promised to find his family food stall at the festival and in return he promised to give me free soup. It took me 4 days to find him there… a month later. I had given up by day 2 but on our way to the acoustic stage I saw him van and by chance it was during his shift so we caught up. As promised he gave me free soup. I wish him all the best in the future, he is leaving to Croatia to work on a marketing project before starting a masters at Oxford University in September.
2. Sarah – UK
We met in Chiang Mai – Brick House Hostel – June 217 – We had a very very special chat. She is an incredible human being who has endured a lot. I want to thank you because the day we met you did something so special for me, you cheered me up. I was riddled with guilt and sadness but the advise you gave and what you said saved me from throwing a very good opportunity away. I am really grateful for your words of wisdom and advice. I am also sorry for what happened to you in the past, you did not deserve those things. I am excited to read the books you recommend. Right now I am listening to the song you told me to listen to 🙂 it’s below. I am looking forward to your visit in Cambodia and grateful for the advice you gave me for the hostel. It is coming along nicely. You are an amazing person, one of the most inspirational people I have met during my travels. Thank you.
3. Alex – USA Seattle
We met in Hanoi – Hanoi Rocks Hostel – March 2017 – I could have written a whole entry on him alone. I enjoyed our friendship. With Alex I experienced my first all nighter. I was having a day off drinking, the plan was to Netflix and chill alone. I went tot he shop, bought snacks in my PJ’s but on my way up a girl I had met called me over, we played beer pong and boom I met Alex. It wasn’t the first time I met him but it was when we became friends. We stayed up all night then got a motorbike taxi to visit museum. The plan was to travel south together. The next few days were filled with spontaneous fun. The day before we were due to leave we booked a cool hotel. The next day we parted ways. We never made it to the hotel. I had made up my mind about leaving to Ninh Binh and he return to Hanoi Rocks. I was sad as I really like our friendship but for many reasons it was better for me to go alone. We had been drinking beer Hoi with locals then playing drinking games with new friends, the rest is a blur but that night I met a new friend and the rest is history. Alex has no social media so no way of finding him but wishing him all the best. He was entrepreneur…or so he said…he had a lawn mowing business. He had majored in History so we had a lot to speak about. Grasias amigo and thank you for sharing your stories.
4. Jack – UK
Jack was cool, we met in Hanoi on beer corner. March 2017 on my birthday. I saw him sitting alone so started chatting. He was your typical indie Londoner but a cool guys. He gave me a lot of advice on places to go and also on toughening up a bit as a traveller. Appreciated the information he gave me but most of all I appreciated that he taught me how to say no. To say no to things I did not want to do. By sharing his own experiences I learned a lot. Because of him I left to Cat Ba Island, it was the best week of my travels. We played many drinking games, laughed and enjoyed the evening with the others. I never saw him again after this night.
A new song for you:
5. Dennis – Holland
I don’t like to refer to him as an acquaintance. We met in March 2017 – Ninh Binh, Hoi An and Dalat. He is a really sweet guy, he had been conned when he first arrived in Hanoi, we met in Ninh Binh central hostel. It was so unlucky and slightly stupid however he was very relaxed and had a positive attitude towards the events. I respected him highly for this. I was unwell so not in the mood to chat but we made a big effort to involve me. The second time we met was under much better circumstances, we were both a little drunk and had a lovely time socialising and laughing about everything. The third time it was just us, on the rooftop of Mr Peace in Dalat. He is so sweet and so genuine. He told me about his past and shared a sad story about an ex. He was a very happy human, always smiling but when he told me about the past he was sad and slightly disappointed. I was grateful for his persistence with me, I was tiered at the time and felt like I wanted to be alone but he made me smile, laugh and cry. Appreciated his energy, positivity and love. He is a really loving person and was so kind to me. It was a pleasure to have met him as he was so special and sweet. We never shared details as we knew we would one day meet again.
6. Martin – Holland
I met this guy in my room in Chiang Mai June 2017, just days before I was due to depart at Brick House Hostel. On my last two nights in Chinag Mai we were the only ones in a 6 bedded dorm. We spoke for hours each night, he was very interesting. Not your usual backpacker. He did not like travelling but felt obliged to do it. He was going to be away for 6 weeks before returning to his girlfriend back in Holland. He would sign up for tough day excursions like mountain biking through a jungle in the blistering heat then return and complain about it. Yet he was such a beautiful person. He told me a story about a kitten him and girlfriend had bough, it died shortly after they bought it, he said the girl he was seeing (girlfriend pretty much) would cry for hours every day and they were both heart broken. He had a drawing of her and the cat done at the night market in Chiang Mai. I liked talking to him, he was quirky, happy, we had a lot in common, both a little strange but similar personalities. I was sad to leave as he was a cool dude but we did not say goodbye…..I am sure I will run into him again. Most of my travel friends are Dutch so will be spending a lot of time there soon visiting them.
7. Martin – Holland
Another one from Holland. We met in Bangkok the day I was leaving. I sat with him at breakfast and listened to his funny story of the night before. He was very hangover and possibly still drunk. He had gotten sloshed on Koh San Road, everything closed at midnight so he returned to the hostel hoping to find entertainment. He did. He sat in our dorm, on one of the capsule beds staring at a fellow traveller, someone I knew, she was a lady boy waiting for a working visa, he told me they had stared longingly into each others eyes before he invited her to his bed…unfortunately they were interrupted before she could join him. The day I met him he was a little shy about it. She was beautiful so it was no wonder he liked her. Anyway I enjoyed this guys company a lot because he was very funny and also very nice. We had my last meal together and he waited for me to leave on the 10pm bus before heading out to join his tinder dates. We went for pizza and he was so upset as we ordered small and medium….what can out was tiny, Asian medium and small means half a slice of pizza each…if that. His reaction was what put him among the top people I have met. it was really funny. He wants to open a hostel in Costa Rica in the future, similar plan to me so I may meet him again, another new business partner.
Another song 😉
There are hundreds of people I wanted to mention but if I did this blog post would never end. The people above were those I do not have contact with so us meeting or speaking again is purely down to chance. They shared stories with me, cheered me up, made me laugh and cry.
Among these stories are some of the most frightening tales, things I did not think any human could do to another. But the above people were also among the most grounded people I had met, kind, positive, accepting, patient, honest and above all courageous. This is the beauty about meeting new people, you expeirnce so much through their stories and learn a lot from their advice.
This is why I want to work in a hostel, to meet as many people are possible and continue learning about life, humanity an other cutures. Stories are my favouite thing alongside music so I am looking forward to hearing many more.
If you are reading this post I hope you come to visit us in Siem Reap. I cannot give you a location yet, not until we have registered the business but we are in the process of doing that now. This will be a challenging year, my first time as an entrepreneur but have no doubt Max and I will succeed and I am very much looking forward to meeting you.
Peace out ❤