Pet Please #160: Stumbling Upon Fellow Travelers You’ve Already Met

Megan and I had a Netflix movie night this weekend, and one of the movies we watched was Ibiza. It’s a series of vignettes about three Americans having adventures in Spain.

The movie perfectly captured one of my favorite things about traveling: It’s normal to meet or notice a number of other tourists when you’re in foreign locations. And on occasion you’ll stumble upon people you’ve met or seen in completely different places. When you do, the need for familiarity is so powerful that you may find yourself treating them like old friends even though you barely know them.

That happens in Ibiza, and it happened to us when we were traveling in New Zealand. We did a glacier walk, and in our group was an Australian couple. It was cold and rainy, and we were constantly moving, so we didn’t interact much with them.

After the hike, Megan and I picked a small town about an hour down the road, and we drove there to stay for the night. As we pulled up to our motel, our Australian friends were leaving their room–right next to ours. We smiled, laughed, and said hi as they drove away.

It was close to dinnertime, so we picked from among a few local restaurants. As we walked in, sure enough, the Australians were there too. In the movies, this is probably when we would have become best friends, but we just laughed, said hi again, and ate dinner in different rooms.

The next day, we hit the road for an hour before reaching a top-rated hiking trail in the area. As we headed down the trail, guess who was walking the opposite direction? You guessed it: The Australians had just completed the hike. We said hi/goodbye, and at that point we were sure we would see them every few hours for the rest of the trip. But that was actually the last time.

Have you ever had something like this happen? I’d love to hear your story in the comments.


2 Responses to “Pet Please #160: Stumbling Upon Fellow Travelers You’ve Already Met”

  1. Joe Pilkus says:

    My daughter and I traveled to Cancun once a year together for about a decade. Our last trip in Dec ’18, we met a young couple on a trip to a Tequilaria where we struck up a conversation. The next day, we’re entering a park on one of day excursions and lo and behold who’s leaving he park…that same couple. Two days later, we’re in downtown Cancun for a dinner Show and who sits a few tables away? Yeah, you guessed it. Sadly, we didn’t see them again (only three times for us), but we’ve experienced it multiple times where we see the same set of people or couple at least one more time while traveling.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      That’s wonderful, Joe! I like how it often seems to be several chance meetings, not just two. 🙂

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