When I began this amazing journey, I longed for something new and different. I yearned for a change, one that would finally enable me to live a full life. Little did I know that there were many others out there seeking similar adventures and that we’d one day become friends.
I met Charlyn and Radek back in little ol’ Rotorua, New Zealand. Who knew we’d meet again half a world away in London, England? But, I suppose when a friendship starts with learning how to properly scrub toilets (literally the first experience Charlyn and I had together), things can only get better from there.
When I told Charlyn and Radek I was stopping in England on my way home, they invited me over to their place, even though they didn’t really have one. They were rootless, staying with friends and moving from couch to couch and flat to flat as they searched for jobs in the city.
Since I’d seen them last, they’d traveled through South America and made it back to London, where they hoped to find jobs in their respective fields. Charlyn landed herself a temporary job and mainly spent her days on the phone to customers while she strategically applied for jobs in her field. Radek wasn’t having much luck with anything but had applied to several management programs and was hoping acceptance would lead to a permanent position.
After spending days roaming about the city, it was heartwarming to see familiar faces again, faces I’d seen every day and worked side-by-side with for four months. It seemed like a lifetime ago, and we enjoyed reminiscing about the good old days.
I ended up staying with them in their shared flat and sleeping on the couch in their lounge room for a few days. Luckily, their flatmates didn’t really seem to mind at all. While I was there, we spent an afternoon in Hampstead Heath wandering around the village a bit. We had gelato (yum!) and picked up some food for dinner at Marks & Spencer (which was a treat in itself as I’d only read about this grocery chain in British chick lit novels and was finally able to see one for myself). Another night we spent down at a local pub watching sports on tv and cheering for Poland (who lost unfortunately).
It’s simple days like this that makes traveling so amazing. Doing unremarkable but everyday activities with people you’ve met on the other side of the globe is something you don’t really expect when you first leave home, but this is a testament that it really does happen. Friendships formed abroad, often forged in undesirable or extenuating circumstances, can be the best friends in the world.