Sorry. Now you will have the song stuck in your head for the rest of the day. In all reality, the world isn't as big as it seems...especially once you start exploring it and making connections. The backpacking/hostel/travel community is a fairly close-knit community that often ends up traveling together or meeting up at later times around the world. As you travel more and more your "travel network" will exponentially grow and you'll run into friends and friends of friends when you least expect it. Still, don't believe me? Let me tell you about two instances from my South America/Europe trip in 2016.
Panama to Chile
After a short plane ride from beautiful Santiago, Chile to the surfing port city of Arica in northern Chile, I hop in an Uber to my hostel. It's early morning as I arrive and the owners and some of the guests are at the dining room table enjoying breakfast and socializing. Before checking in or anything, the owner invites me to sit and have breakfast with them. At first, it was a bit of a surprise because all the other hostels had been more professional/strict and only provided breakfast for the nights you stayed. It was a simple yet meaningful gesture on their part. This hostel, Hostal Sunny Days, felt more like a home due to the location in a residential neighborhood and the kindness of the owners. I enjoy homemade bread, jam, and juice while talking to the others before checking in. The owner, Ross, walks me to my room and slowly opens the door into a dark room. As I enter the room I glance over to my right and see a strangely familiar yellow object. Not wanting to make too much noise and wake anyone up I decide to just hop in bed and get some rest. A few hours later I wake up and with the sun now shining through the small window it becomes clear the yellow object is indeed what I had thought it was. It's the yellow hard-case luggage (along with motorcycle helmet) of my friend Troy I had met and traveled with the previous year in Panama (follow his journey here)! We haven't seen each other since and have only spoken a couple times. A year later and 2,000+ miles away and we have unexpectedly crossed paths! The day starts with him cooking some brunch and us catching up on the past year. After a delicious meal, we hop on his motorcycle (that has traveled all over the United States, Central America, and South America) and head down to the beach where he catches some waves.
Peru to Spain
After traveling in South America for three months I board an overnight flight to Madrid, Spain. I arrive on October 10th and the 12th is Spanish National Day (Fiesta Nacional de Espana) or Hispanic Day (Día de la Hispanidad) which I wasn't aware of until I'm walking down the street in the morning and stumble upon a parade of military men and women. I stop and enjoy the uniforms and listen to the chants before continuing on down the crowded streets to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. After viewing the 20th-century art I again wander the streets in the on-again-off-again rain towards Plaza Mayor. As I near the plaza the crowd begins to grow as I come across another gathering. This one seems to focus more on the Hispanic culture around the world and the indigenous people. Signs and banners are being waved, flyers being passed out, people are dancing in traditional clothing and costumes, and a lady is chanting through a megaphone (I'll never forget the sound of her voice). The parade begins to move away from Plaza Mayor and I see what I think is a familiar face in the parade. It takes a couple minutes to realize where I know the woman from but eventually it comes to me. She was on the same free walking tour as I was in Lima, Peru a month prior! I knew she was from Madrid but had no idea she would be back in her hometown and that I'd see her in a parade!
"You never really travel alone. The world is full of friends waiting to get to know you."