One of our favorite parts of travel is the people you meet along the way. We have been lucky to meet more than our fair share of remarkable people that have touched our lives, and this post is only the beginning.
At the start of the year we were welcomed into the home of one of our best friend’s sister, and received hands down some of the best hospitality we could ever wish for. Anish, Ash and Vikram opened up their home and acted like we weren’t an inconvenience at all (which trust me we were!) Ash went as far as to cook us the most delicious (I’m not over-emphasizing this at all) southern Indian food I have ever tasted.
They taught us that you can still be welcoming even when you have two vagabonds taking over your 2 bedroom apartment for 2 weeks. With a little kindness, patience and delicious Indian food anything is possible.
After meeting our new friends at a really random guesthouse in Bali, and spending a night over a beautiful dinner, we realized if we were them we might not still be traveling. While exploring China they had gotten a nasty case of swine flu, with a side of pneumonia. They spent 2 weeks hooked up to IVs and finally after hearing from their insurance and switching to an international hospital were flown home to Finland accompanied by a doctor. I am simplifying the story, but trust me the details were graphic and scary.
In the end they inspired us to never give up on what you love. You can’t plan for every hiccup or major road bump, but you can control your reaction to it. Don’t let fear stop you from following a passion.
The Power of a Smile
You probably already read about the one time I slept in a men’s hostel dorm. After that first night things got a lot better, thanks to a friend back in Chicago who just happened to own an apartment on Ipanema Beach…which just happened to have a view of the famous Christ the Redeemer (thanks Mark!). We got lucky not only being able to stay in a beautiful apartment, but we got to spend 2 weeks with his mom, Mama G.
Mama G didn’t speak any English, and we didn’t speak any Portugese, but for two weeks we lived together, ate together, and finally fully understood the power of smile. She opened her home and her heart, and for 2 weeks we communicated without needing words. I am incredibly grateful to have known her!
We learned a lot about communication and witnessed how everyone laughs and smiles in the same language.
We love these two! We met on a cruise through the Galapagos Islands and spent most of the week getting to know each other on a way too personal level. 🙂 They are from Brooklyn, NY and their dynamic together as a couple is amazing. While we saw so many differences between the two, they fit so well together. You could tell how much they cared for each other and Josh and I loved getting to know them, hearing their stories and plan on making a trip to New York to visit them soon.
We learned a lot about our own relationship. We love meeting couples that love each other and watching their dynamic between each other. They reminded us how important it is to always adventure and have fun together.
We met this group while motorbiking through Bali and luckily we all hung around long enough in the rice paddies to get to know each other. We met every night for dinner at the same meeting point to share travel adventures and were quickly reminded the importance of community. We had so much fun with this group, and hopefully we will run into them this year while visiting Canada or them in Chicago. We all extended our stays on Bali together and pretty much left on the same date.
We are grateful we met this group to be reminded the importance of community. An adventure can be so much more when shared with others, even total strangers.
We met Brian on an overnight bus in Laos. We instantly clicked considering he was from Chicago and could relate to the number one city we missed while traveling. We were heading out on a 2 day motorbike trip through the Bolaven Plateau, a trip neither Josh or I had any idea what we were doing. Brian accepted our unplanned challenge with courage and joined two strangers on motorbikes out in the Laos countryside. Brian had never driven a motorbike before, especially a semi-automatic.
We were glad to have Brian join us and continue south with us to 4,000 Islands for the next week, but I know it has to take courage to drive a motorbike around a foreign country with 2 complete strangers.
We learned that the risk is almost always worth the reward (or learning experience). Talk to strangers, you will quickly realize how small of a world we live in.
What have you learned from others you met during your travels?