Meeting good folk

A few weeks ago I was moaning that I was tired of being a stranger and tired of having to go through the same introductory conversation over and over again but every now and then something changes. Whilst travelling so far I have met all sorts of people and I hope that some of them stay in touch, in fact I have actually connected with some people and this is such a nice feeling. There has been three times whilst in Australia that I thought it would be nice for things to continue as they are but I have had to move on. Although these times come very few and far between when they come I make sure to acknowledge them.

The first came in Adelaide, which I have not actually written about but I liked Adelaide for two main reasons. The first of which was the fact it was the first ‘Australian’ feeling city that I had been to, a lot less European feeling that Melbourne. There was more though, in Adelaide I found a really small hostel which consisted of just a few backpackers. This for me is great because it gives me time to get to know the people and time to allow myself to open up as a person which I don’t always do. I stayed in Adelaide just under two weeks trying to find a ride up to Alice Springs but during that time I met some really nice people which really makes all the difference. I had people I could chat with, enjoy the company of and even share experiences with and when I had to leave I really felt that one or two people would miss my presence which in itself is an odd feeling considering they are virtually strangers but the people I was with I have thought about after I left so there is something. The second time it happened was when I had to part ways from the girls who I travelled up to Alice Springs with. I had spent the last ten or so days with them so obviously there was some time to connect. I have already mentioned I really enjoyed travelling with them but again I have thought of them from time to time and looked back thinking how nice it was to connect with them in such a short time.

The third time I have just got back from. In Katoomba which is the town that is best for accessing the Blue Mountains. Here I stayed in a fantastic hostel called The Flying Fox. This is a homely converted house that does not have a great deal of space so it’s best to book in advance, for me this is pretty much exactly like the sort of hostel I would like to run. The owner (Ross) is vastly knowledgable about the walks in the area, has maps that you can borrow and runs a pretty loose but well run ship. What I think really works about the hostel is that between the hours of 18:00-21:00 is meant for social time which means that if your sat there on your phone or laptop and Ross sees you he will politely come over and ask you to turn it off or go to your room with it. It’s not that he is against people using computers but it sort of enforces the feeling that you should interact and chat to your fellow travellers, you might be surprised just how well this works. Backpackers start to play cards, music (with the various instruments) or just chat and compare walks they may of done during the day. It was during this time I learnt two new card games and got to chat to a few people and arranged to go walking with other travellers the next day. I seriously did not want to leave this hostel, I could of quite happily stayed there for a month and helped out with any chores or helped run it but sadly time does not allow me to do such things. It was my last night after I had been out for a walk with a few other backpackers to the most awesome Ruined Castle near Katoomba we got back and sat round the table playing cards and generally laughing. I can’t recall a time on this trip where I have laughed so much and it is thanks to my fellow European compadres.

Today I had to leave, it took me a while to find the energy to do so and I gave the people I had connected with and leaving behind a hug before bidding them farewell. I got on the train with one other traveller a spanish lady called Eva, both of us heading back to Sydney and it was on the two hour journey that we chatted about everything from life to love to philosophy to self improvement, literally everything. This is probably one of the first times in Australia that I have connected with a person like this and it’s sort of a pity that Eva and I are going in different directions because I could see us being good travel buddies at least but such is the nature of what I am doing, I have to move on there is a flight and an adventure waiting for me in Thailand. What I’m trying to say is that I may of sounded really negative about being a stranger last time but I forget that behind all the strangers I have met there have been a few that have touched me and it’s possible that I have touched them and next time I get fed up of being a stranger I will try to think of that.

– Chris

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