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.
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.