I often look at this photograph.
I remember exactly how I felt. When I close my eyes I can almost hear the laughter surrounding me; there were 14 of us, all in our twenties, from every corner of the globe. We had met only the evening before in the communal lounge of the hostel in which we were staying. I don’t think I even knew everyone’s name – but it didn’t matter – we were sharing in something special – a moment of complete freedom…
We had just finished lunch at a winery. We had hired bikes through a local gentleman named Mr. Hugo and were cycling the Mendoza wine region in Argentina. We were sprawled across the road; oblivious to the fact we were holding up a long line of traffic, singing songs like Oasis ‘Wonderwall’ and Tracy Chapman’s ‘Fast Car’…
On this occasion the distance was short and the adventure brief. But if you measured it in friends – it was quite the journey. Within 6 short hours the fourteen of us had gone from complete strangers to ‘fam’ (abbreviation for ‘family’). We had nowhere to be but everywhere to go; not a single responsibility in sight, just the wind in our hair, sun on our skin and the smell of freedom in the air.
Human beings have this remarkable ability to bond quickly. Well, of course we do, we are one and the same. We share similar fears; crave feelings of inclusion, the need to belong and be loved – we are drawn to one another as a way of finding the familiar in what would otherwise be an unfamiliar backdrop.
Never measure a journey on the number of sights you see or places you visit but rather the number of people you connect and form relationships with.
Friendships are a privilege. Whether they possess long jeopardy or not – they should always be respected and embraced.
I may not be able to recall where I was staying or what I ate – but who cares? Those details are not important. The memories I have are not attached to the physical environment, but more the people who I shared in those surrounds with.
Now although many of those friendships failed to go the distance; memories remain…
I guess that’s one thing you can always take with you?
What are your favourite experiences making new friends on your travels?