All Walks of Life

On a trip like the one we just returned from, you’re bound to meet loads of interesting people from all different backgrounds.

The first “Travel Friend” we made happened to be a Brazilian guy named Tiago who spoke only Portuguese. Despite the language barrier, we hung out the whole week and he showed us all around Salvador, Brazil. Who knew that language was only a minuscule part of communicating and getting along with people?

On our trip to Iguazu Falls, I got to know a girl who grew up in Zimbabwe and left for an extended vacation to Europe in the year 2000. While she was away from home (and fully intending to go back), the country was forever changed as a slew of economic sanctions were put in place. As most of you probably know, the country deteriorated dramatically, and fast. She never returned, leaving all of her childhood belongings with her father who moved abroad several times since, and lost or got rid of most of her things along the way. She ended up working in London for many years, but was not happy with her life there so picked up and left in hopes of finding a new life and new work abroad. Can you imagine having no belongings in this world besides the pack on your back? Quite scary I’m sure, but also, I imagine, very liberating. Nothing, literally nothing, keeping you from trying to do what you want to do or live where you want to live.

On this same trip to Iguazu, we met Rob. Rob was sort of the annoying-little-brother type to me. The 8-years-my-junior kid who says and does dumb, ridiculous things but you can’t help but love him because the truth of the matter is, the stupid things he does/says always tend to be hilarious and provide for a full day of entertainment. Like the time he decided to save money and sleep in a favela (slum) during Carnivale despite my telling him it was a terrible, terrible idea. And then he was robbed of his passport, all of his credit cards, and his glasses.

And we certainly will never forget Mike who we met in Argentina simply because we were at the table next to him at dinner and he started chatting with us since we spoke English. A over-privileged American who speaks four languages and has lived all over the world, Buenos Aires was his newest conquest when we met him shortly after his arrival. A few days spent with Mike pretty much filled our monthly quota for Lacoste-wearing, crude remark-making yuppies, but was endlessly entertaining nonetheless. And most importantly, he taught us how to do a spot-on Hitler impression using the wrapper from a pack of cigarettes.

Kelly and Bob, who we met in Mendoza, Argentina and crossed paths again with in Cambodia. Canadians that you might even mistake for Americans, and that’s a rare find.

And we were lucky enough to have an amazing group on our tour of the Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia. We scored big time with a really cool Australian couple, Sophie and Duncan, that managed to not want to kill us after being crammed into a vehicle for four days with them. I think mainly because we taught them how to play a rousing game of hearts, and Duncan envied Z’s beard.

Oh, and did I mention I felt extra good about myself that week because Sophie is pretty much a supermodel? So… that was that.

Kendra and Dan were the wild butter-churning New Zealanders we partied with in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on St. Patty’s day. Their camaraderie ensured we had a hangover well into the following day.

And it would be a sin to forget The Belsh and Frenchie, who we met on our diving trip. They not only showed us their perfection of a hair-braiding chain, but also taught us the importance of not calling French people Frenchie, because they tend to get offended.

And this is just a small selection of all of the amazing, fun people we met who I hope we get a chance to see again someday in our future adventures. The last time I travelled, I had a discussion with a travel friend about what we’d do if someone we met on our trip contacted us 10+ years later. Would we remember them? Would we offer them a place to stay if they were heading to our city? My answer – for sure! But chances are, I’ll be contacting them first.

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