Reconnecting After Meeting on the Road

Reconnecting after meeting on the road

Reconnecting After Meeting on the Road

There’s nothing quite like life while traveling and the people we encounter and connect with along the journey, but reconnecting after meeting on the road has the potential to be even more interesting.  Anyone who has traveled for a while can tell you that there are vast differences between a life on the road and that of life at home. As William Least Heat-Moon tells us,

“When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road.” 

On the road, there is a freedom that isn’t always available at home. A chance to be who we really are, a time to show who is really under those masks we may wear, or just a chance to be truly free. Our backgrounds are our own, and we get to be exactly who we want to be. In so many ways, it’s this feeling of escape that makes traveling so appealing.

Reconnecting after meeting on the road

Throughout my travels I have made many connections with people from all over the world. Sometimes those connections are short-lived: a chat at a café or while standing in line boarding an airplane. Other times those connections have been much more significant, and friendships have been built and made. I have traveled long distances with strangers who have become friends, and there are people I spent time with who I have completely lost touch with. Regardless of how long I spent with each one, or whether we got along or not, these people have had some impact on my life.

Still, with each and every one of them, we have only spent time together while we were traveling. That was until recently, when I was fortunate enough to be able to reconnect with someone I met while traveling.

While I have a lot of special travel memories, I had always considered this person to be a part of some of my favorite. There was something special there, a connection that seemed to spark the moment we had met. Luckily, we were able to spend some time together, but with travel, time eventually runs out. Soon enough, it was time for us to say good-bye.

When we originally parted, we said we’d try to keep in touch, but over time it proved just too difficult, and as upset as I was about having to say good-bye, I remember believing that we would see each other again, just not knowing how, when, or why. Our lives went on in separate directions, but deep down in hibernation were memories of the time I had spent with him.

Until an opportunity to meet up appeared, and my premonition years ago was in fact accurate. Three years since we had met, with little communication in the interim, we met once again, and it was exactly as I had hoped, though I had no real expectations.

As I rode the train to see him, I played out two scenarios in my mind. Either the connection I had remembered so vividly had been real, and we would pick up where we left off, or it was a connection meant solely for that time and place in my life and nothing more. If it was the latter, I would be grateful for our encounter and remember it with happiness for everything it was. Luckily, the first scenario is actually how it all panned out.

When I saw him at the train station, a sense of relief washed over me. It was as if no time had passed, and we picked up exactly where we had left off, joking and laughing with the perfect flow of conversation. With that moment, I could confirm that this was not just something I had made up in my head, but that it was in fact a reality.

Reconnecting after meeting on the road has the potential to be a complete disaster depending on different situations. There are many people I would meet up with again in a heartbeat, while others I am sure I will never see again. I think most of it depends on the connection that was made and developed over time; each scenario is different.

For me, the opportunity was a breath of fresh air, at a time when honestly, I needed it. The situation restored my faith in a lot about life, and it has since become a special memory that I will treasure, along with the time we spent together three years ago.

Still, I think what makes reconnecting so difficult in this situation was our limited time together, yet again. In all of our encounters, I have never wanted to leave, and this time was no different. I guess sometimes those connections we make are even stronger than we think they are, so strong that even time can’t change them.

This time, parting was such a blur in my mind that I can barely remember saying good-bye. But, I do remember feeling, just like last time, that this was not the last time I’d be seeing him. I guess we will just have to see where the road takes us from here.

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Comments (15)

  1. SnarkyNomad

    Awwwwwwww. I feel the same way about people I’ve met here and there. If I could import all the good people into the same neighborhood, I’d have a million best friends. Travel allows you to cast a wide net and meet lots and lots of people, so even if you hate 99% of people, you’re still going to find the 1% that don’t suck, and if you’re meeting 10 times as many people as you would in your regular life, the grand total number of worthwhile people is going to be a lot higher, which is why it seems like you meet interesting people on the road that you don’t at home. Yes, I turned relationships into a math lesson.

    I’ve only ever met up with one person that I had met years before. Others I had met maybe a few weeks before, so that’s kinda nice, but I’ve only ever made use of a “we met years ago” travel contact once. But oh well. More to come.

    1. The World Wanderer

      Haha, Eytan, you never cease to make me laugh. Agreed, some of the best people I have ever met have been through traveling. I consider myself blessed to have met so many great people and wish I could fill a neighborhood with just them. 🙂 It’s also nice to have people all over the world to visit, even if I’ve only managed to make this happen only once so far.

  2. Natalie @ In Natalie's Shoes

    I love this! I have some of the fondest memories of those whom I traveled with or met while traveling. It’s almost like seeing them or a photo of them brings you right back to where you both were– shopping in spice bazaars or having a little too much to drink at some hole-in-the-wall pub. I need to be better about reaching out once these memories pop back up!

  3. @mrsoaroundworld

    This is so true Erin – and so glad that you had a good reunion. I want to hear more!

    1. The World Wanderer

      We will have to chat over gin and tonics! xx

  4. Raul (@ilivetotravel)

    While I am always myself, I get what you mean by being free of the baggage/history of our lives when we travel. I love meeting new people when I travel though I seldom keep up except maybe my recent trip to Jordan. But I still remember most of the folks I met and treasure the time shared. Hopefully I will be meeting some folks on an upcoming trip to upper state NY!

  5. Leah

    Some of my best travel memories have to do with the people I’ve met along the way. It’s one of my favorite things about travel. I’m glad you got to reconnect with your friend.

  6. Traveling Ted

    I was visiting Poland to see historical sights, and I met this fascinating German woman doing her Phd work in the Holocaust. We really hit it off, but she was leaving the next day, and I never saw her again until about 5 years later she was in New York for a conference. On a whim I decided to fly to New York and see her.. I had a friend I wanted to see anyway as backup in case we did not hit it off like we did before. But we picked right up where we left off. That reminds me of this post.

  7. lola

    singing to the choir, my friend. i thrilled for you. and, as always, i’m so happy to travel the road with you from time to time. you bring out the best in me & i love you so much for it.

  8. Erik

    I love re-connecting. I’ve been fortunate and have done this a number of times. I actually consider some of the people I’ve met on the road to be close friends, even though we’ve only been physically around each other once or twice for a limited number of days. It’s amazing how strong that connection can be!

  9. Steve @ Backpacker Report

    glad to hear that you were able to reconnect with your travel mate. it’s so easy to lose touch to people you meet while travelling, esp when people go back to their “normal” lives back home.

  10. the lazy travelers

    i love this! but the real question is: how have we never been on a trip together?! xo, the romantic

  11. Penny sadler

    I have yet to travel with someone I met while traveling but I do see people again when I’m in their city. I don’t have much communication I between. It’s intersting how those relationships endure in spite of big communication gaps. Great story.

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