We all have had those experiences. You talk to someone on an 8-hour plane ride, connecting in a certain way or enjoying the conversation on some level. Once the plane lands, there is that “well, enjoy your life” kind of undertone as you know the chances of seeing that stranger again are slim. Joya of Be A Travel Bee shares below her experience of connecting with a travel stranger. Be sure to check out Joya’s travel site as well. She features a weekly “Travel Bites of the Week” post, searching for the best in travel every Friday.
I missed making a connection with David from Melbourne. I don’t know his phone number, e-mail address, or even his last name but I talked to him on a train in Germany for 45 minutes. It was the best train ride I took during my entire eight months in Europe. I first met him at a hostel in Amsterdam. We had a passing conversation in the lobby about the Internet connection or maybe it was the Van Gogh museum down the street. I don’t really remember. What I do remember is that his face instantly grabbed my attention and I actually smiled at him, an achievement for me. He was only in the lobby for a couple of minutes and then he was gone. I walked back up to my room and that was it.
The next morning, my friends and I took a train to Berlin. We were standing by the Brandenburg Gate waiting for our day trip to begin to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. We knew this wouldn’t be a happy-go-lucky day trip but we also knew it was important to be aware of a place like this. I was distracted from the day that awaited me when I noticed David in the group of day-trippers. I couldn’t believe it. I went right up to him and told him I remembered him from the hostel in Amsterdam and thankfully for me, he remembered me too. We talked on the train on the way to the camp and gathered the usual info about each other, where we were from and how long we had been traveling. All the while I was still unbelieving that I was actually seeing him again. I couldn’t believe my luck that we would be spending the day together.
By the time the day was over and the tour group boarded the train back to Berlin, I was certainly not in a jovial mindset after learning about all that went on in the camp years ago. However, David was the light at the end of a very depressing tunnel. We ended up sitting next to each other on the 45-minute train ride back into the city and instantly my nervousness kicked in. What was I going to talk about for 45 minutes with this fresh acquaintance? Yet as soon as I started talking to him, everything felt easy.
We were talking non-stop about anything and everything with no awkward silences. We chatted about what it’s like for him to travel by himself compared to what it’s like traveling with friends like myself. We talked about everything from our favorite music to our favorite paintings at the Van Gogh museum back in Amsterdam. What was so great about the conversation was that we clearly didn’t agree on everything but that didn’t seem to matter and it shouldn’t. He was so pleasant to talk to and it just made me even more attracted to his adorable smile and accent. I didn’t want to stop talking to him.
Unfortunately, that train ride had to end sometime and my friends and I had another train to catch, this time a night train to Vienna. The three of us stood inside the station saying our goodbyes to David. I just remember we couldn’t take our eyes off of each other. I can’t speak for him but even though I knew that we probably would never see each other again, I was strongly hoping that we would make some sort of connection to stay in touch. I was hoping for some e-mail courtship that spanned the globe. But we both didn’t say anything. The moment just slipped by and he went one way into the crowds and my friends and I went another way.
It’s only until the moment passes you by do you realize you missed an opportunity to stay connected to a special person. I should have asked for his e-mail and only after I stopped kicking myself for my passivity did I accept that I had a pretty good memory stored in my head that I would always remember. A memory that taught me good things can happen at any moment and when you least expect it. And I also learned to ask for an e-mail address next time around.
Have you had a missed connection on the road?
Be sure to head on over to Joya’s travel site Be A Travel Bee.
Main image from hangthis.net.