THE people who shaped MY LIFE

Posted: 06/09/2011 | June 11th, 2011

It’s the people you satisfy that make travel the rich, lively experience that it is. They shape our memories a lot more than the places themselves. They can make a poor location good, or a excellent location bad. They show us about what we like or don’t like in others.

They radiate lights on our ignorance as well as show us about ourselves.

And as I technique five years of travel, I want to take a long time to mention the five people (or groups of people) who have had the most effect on my journey:

Greg – Back in 2006, I spent a few months in Amsterdam playing poker. (Yes, you might have called me a professional.) There was always this regional there who kept inviting me out.

Looking down at a big stack of his money in front of me, I was always suspicious about it — was he just going to rob me? However, after being reassured he was a great person by the other players as well as seeing him around a lot, I realized he was just a great person as well as agreed to his invitation.

He as well as some other players took me out for drinks, to their regular house poker games, as well as overall, just showed me the “local” handle Amsterdam. Greg taught me that strangers are not always out to get you. As somebody who has been on the road for a while, this is evident to me now. however when you are fresh-faced as well as new to traveling, it isn’t so simple to let your guard down as well as let strangers in.

Sadly though, I can never tell Greg say thanks to you. A few months after I left Amsterdam, he was killed during a robbery in his home. anywhere he is now, he is missed.

The unknown Backpackers in Chiang Mai – There are little moments in life that shape the whole rest of your life afterward. bit events that ripple out to type significant waves.

I never believed my two-week trip to Thailand would be anything a lot more than a break from the chilly Boston winter. Yet on that fateful trip in 2005, I satisfied five backpackers on a bus to a temple in Chiang Mai. Over conversation about exactly how absurd the two-weeks-per-year holiday system in America is, I realized there was a lot more to life than a 401(k) as well as 50-hour work weeks.

That little event ended up being one of the most essential moments in my life. A week later on the beach in Ko Samui, I counted on my good friend as well as stated I was going to backpack the world. The rest is history — all thanks to strangers on a bus.

The Ko Lipe team – soon after Amsterdam, on a whim I made a decision to go to Ko Lipe in Thailand. somebody told me it was good, cheap, as well as mainly vacationer complimentary — it sounded like paradise.

It was.

I ended up staying a month. While I was there, I satisfied Paul as well as Jane, a couple from new Zealand. We hit it off ideal away as well as ended up being quick friends. That was the very first time on my trip that I had truly bonded with people so quickly. I had believed of travel as a method to make friends, however never as a method to discover “best friends.”

But Ko Lipe verified me wrong, as well as years later they satisfied me at the new Zealand flight terminal as well as we chosen up ideal where we left off. This experience opened me as much as the concept that, even in a blink of an eye, you can make lifelong friends.

Anna the Ex – I don’t commonly talk about my dating life, other than to mention that it is often difficult to date on the road. however I will state I had a relationship. I satisfied Anna a few days after I transferred to Taiwan. I saw her in a bar as well as just went as much as speak to her. (Lesson right here guy of the world: just go up as well as state hi. It works.)

She was studying Chinese for the semester. We dated while I was in Taipei, which — understanding I was leaving in a few months — made things very…complex. After I left Taipei, we stayed “together” in a loose sense of the word.

Months later, I went to Europe as well as spent two weeks with her in Vienna. It was difficult: Anna didn’t want to leave Vienna, as well as I wasn’t prepared to stop traveling. When I left, we both understood that I wasn’t coming back. We just kind of left it there, though we do often stay in touch.

However, my connection with her taught me that there was no method I was prepared for a connection that needed me to provide up traveling, as well as that I was okay with that.

The La Tomatina Gang – like the people in Ko Lipe, this was a group of people that just clicked. There were six of us in a dorm room. Strangers from around the world, however we hit it off ideal away.

For the next week, we were all inseparable. When we moved on to Barcelona, people commented on exactly how close we were, which, provided that we were all from different parts of the world, was odd.

“How lots of years have you understood each other?” they would ask.

“About a week,” we replied.

But often people just connect, as well as the gang from La Tomatina was a tip that this is possible not just when when you travel, however often.

And in a best example of exactly how things never change, over a year later I celebrated Thanksgiving with the twin siblings from this group as well as their family, as well as it was like we had been good friends considering that childhood.

Of course, I would be there for Thanksgiving!

Life is full of strangers who shape our lives, both great as well as bad. All the people you satisfy leave a piece of themselves with you. as well as commonly you don’t recognize it up until much later on. You don’t truly believe about it up until some melancholy, reflective night in the future when you sit down to compose a blog publish like this.

Though I’ve seen lots of remarkable locations in my travels, they are mainly irrelevant. It’s the people I’ve encountered who have made my life better. They are what I believe the most about.

And without satisfying people like these on the road, I most likely wouldn’t have lasted so long.

So, as I turn 30 this weekend, I raise a glass to them as well as all the other people I’ve satisfied over the last five years. say thanks to you, say thanks to you, say thanks to you.

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