I hadn’t seen Alexandria for nine years. We met in 2008, in Amalfi, Italy. Alex was visiting from USA with her mum, I was travelling Italy on my own. Tourists and travellers always congregated in the piazza on those hot evenings, and it was there, at a bar, that we first spoke.
A few days later, we swapped Facebook details, and Alex went back to USA with her mum. Since 2008, despite only meeting in person a handful of times on that trip to Italy, we have remained in contact. We both have a deep love for travel, and a mutual obsession with the Amalfi Coast.
Alex and her husband travel A LOT, and despite visiting Europe multiple times each year, they’d not yet made it to London. Until May this year. We made plans for Sunday lunch, and met in a pub in North London, almost nine long years after our first meeting.
We had the best time over lunch, sharing travel and life stories and talking about Amalfi in a way that I could only do with someone who knows it as personally as me. We laughed so much and made plans to meet for a mid-week dinner before they left London.
In my experience the absolute best part of travelling has been the lifelong friends I’ve made. I’ve been to towns, villages and cities all over the planet, but the most memorable part of every trip has been the people I’ve crossed paths with.
For some reason these friendships with fellow travellers are more instant than others. In 2009 I stopped off in Miami on my way back from visiting friends in Colombia. I booked a bed in a shared hostel room on South Beach, and a couple of days after arriving, a couple walked into my room, and we introduced ourselves. Five minutes into our conversation, we discovered we were both planning to head to Orlando and stay in the same hotel. I was planning on taking the bus. That evening I went out for dinner with my new room mates Jane and Pat, and the next day I was sitting in the back seat of their rental car, bonding over our shared love of IHOP pancakes, as we sang along to songs on the radio, en route to Orlando. We visited Disneyworld the very next day together and fast forward one year later, we all went back to USA, visiting L.A and Vegas. That was 2010. I’m seeing Jane, Pat and their son Harris next Sunday for lunch. I adore the friendship I have with them, and the travel memories we created.
Making lifelong friends when travelling is something I’m so grateful for. I have friends in Japan, South America, Australia and Germany, to name a few places. I look forward to more adventures around the globe, and meeting more Jane and Pat’s and Alexandria’s on my journey.
You can read Alexandria’s blog here. She’s also a writer and you’ll want to purchase one of her fabulous novels!