One of the things I love most about travelling is the camaraderie between fellow human beings. Travelers know that there is a fellowship between all people, that no one is ever truly very different from one another. There is a basic level across all borders, languages, and cultures, that no matter where you are, people are people.
After my last visit to Granada, I flew to Germany to meet up with another friend. Arriving in Frankfurt, I planned to take the train into the city to meet my friend at the hauptbahnhof. New public transportation systems can be slightly tricky at first but I managed to figure out which ticket I needed and get on the train. My blonde hair and blue eyes fit right in with the mostly German crowd and a group of Asian businessmen asked me if I spoke English and if I could help them with their tickets as well. We ended up getting on the same car of the train later, only to be boarded by some transit system officials farther down the line who notified us that we were mistakenly in first class. Thankfully they were very kind about the misunderstanding and since we wanted the next stop, they allowed us to stay until we arrived at our destination.
I disembarked, hauling my stuff to the station’s Starbucks where my friend Katerina and her friend Eva were waiting for me. We hadn’t seen each other in almost a year but as soon as we saw each other, just like that, it was as if no time had passed at all. We were on the other side of the world but we might as well have met for a study break on campus back in San Diego. Another reaffirmation that friendship can be timeless.
Eva, Katerina, and I hauled my stuff back to Eva’s apartment in the city of Frankfurt itself. We had some time to rest, eat snacks, and talk before we headed out to the grocery store to buy ingredients to make pizza with some of Eva’s and Katerina’s friends. We all met up at Anja’s apartment: Germans, Austrians, Americans, everyone! We worked together, making pizza and drinks for everyone, sharing stories, political and cultural insights, dreams, hopes, studies, and interests. It was a night full of camaraderie, and we didn’t want to leave. Some of these people had been friends of Katerina during her year of study in Lyon, France while others we had all just met. In both cases, when it came time for Katerina and I to catch the night train to Berlin, we didn’t know if either of us would see any of these wonderful people ever again.
And therein lies both the beauty and the pain of travelling (and life, really): you have the ability to make great connections with people all over the world, but you never know when you’ll have to say goodbye or if you will ever see them again. You can only enjoy the moment, appreciate the people you are with, embrace whatever they can teach or share with you, and look forward to the next adventure, knowing you’re not alone. Friends can be found in any corner of the world and you never know where you might run into one, new or old.