Making instant friends with perfect strangers is one of the joys of travelling solo. What has surprised me is that I have made friends with such a diverse range of people on this trip through South East Asia. People of all ages, of all walks of life and from such diverse cultures.
When you sign up for an Intrepid Tour of 40 days, you are signing up to sharing a very intense experience in a very intimate way with a bunch of travellers you have never met before. It is one of the risks of travel and it doesn’t always pay off. But it is also one of those leaps of faith you take when you choose to travel solo in the hope there will at least be a couple of people you can connect with on more than just a superficial level. One of these travellers will also be your room mate and if you are very lucky you will complete your tour with a friend for life. I think I can speak for both of us when I say, we got very lucky on this trip!
I never expected to meet a grandmother on a Basix tour of South East Asia! That’s right Jane is a mother of 3 and a grand mother of 4 from England who still carries with her the spirit of adventure she had in her twenties. She will still dive off boats, cycle for hours under very trying climatic conditions, kayak, go tubing and jump off ropes into deep rivers with the best of them! And if she does get a tummy bug, she will wash it down with a few shots of vodka! She inspired me on a number of occasions to try things I might otherwise have given a miss and I am truly grateful she signed up for this trip!
There were a number of occasions where we sat down to dinner and had very deep and meaningful conversations – one of the luxuries of travel I truly relish. Jane’s ability to get to the heart of a matter and her insight into what makes people tick was one of her qualities I appreciated and will truly miss. Her ability to be inclusive of everyone no matter how difficult they might be is also a quality I valued and saw her apply. Her empathy for people was special and I experienced this when I had a few hiccups myself.
She is a physio by trade who works in the rugby arena but what we had in common was a passion for discovering places and people. We both loved to go explore & get under the skin of a country, discover the local haunts so we could taste authentic food, and chat with both the travellers and locals we met along the way. Together we seemed to attract some very interesting people and situations into our lives and the memories we made together will surely live with us forever. Jane made my South East Asia experience extra special because I feel I shared it with a friend. Someone who was there to support me through both the highs and lows of travel.
One of the hardest things about travel is that you keep saying goodbye to the many wonderful friends you make along the way. Being on the road is a transient life but it is what we have both chosen for a year of our lives. Jane will carry on her journey visiting Australia and New Zealand next, to spend time her youngest daughter while I will soon travel on to Sri Lanka to visit my mom.
I wish Jane the very best for the rest of her journey in the knowledge that she will be following my own and wishing me the very best as well. May the Universe be with you as you continue to make your dreams come true!
“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” – Tim Cahill