My hostel has a poster that says something to the effect of “the people you meet while traveling are more important than where you go.” You’re telling me some Australian and Canadian twentysomethings with beards and Birkenstocks are more important than ALL OF SPAIN? Do these twentysomethings have a GDP of $1.393 million? Do they have art and castles? Do they have an unemployment rate of 22.7%? Probably yes, actually. Scratch that last one.
Note: for these next anecdotes, the names have been redacted to shield Let’s Go Travel Guides and Genetically Modified Organisms, Inc. Conglomerate from legal repercussions. Even my own name must be changed. I am now Ludwig.
- I made eye contact with a Canadian girl on the bunk below me at four A.M. as I was climbing up to bed. A warm breeze came through the window. Her face was illuminated by the blue glow of her phone. The room was filled with the hum of expectation and sleep apnea. We looked at each other. I said the only thing there was to say. A far-too-loud, far-too-friendly-for-four-A.M. “Hellllooooo!” She said nothing. She didn’t have to. I went to bed and never saw her again. (In this entry I’m the weirdo. This goes both ways, people.)
- I was at a tapas bar reading my Kindle (curb your jealousy, friends partying in NYC this summer) when an American couple said I looked like a character from the popular CBS show Scorpion and bought me a drink. I was flattered, but I told them I was already taken, by Canadian bunk girl and Stephen King’s The Stand. I got home and looked up the show. Nobody in Scorpion resembles, or has ever resembled, me. It has a 40% on Rotten Tomatoes. Stephen King’s The Stand is good but slow.
- I played chess against a sixty-year-old in a trenchcoat, hat, and full beard. For someone who traveled with a chess set, he was not that great at chess. I mean, he still beat me, but I am not a fearsome opponent.
- A German guy from my hostel kept me hostage for twenty minutes expounding upon the futilities of dating. At a table next to us was an Australian couple. One of them looked at me and made the hand sign for both intellectual and literal masturbation. I laughed. They got up and moved to the restaurant next to us, and I followed. I spent that night and the next day hanging out with them. It’s the kind of heartwarming, conflict-free story that doesn’t belong on a blog. Ever had a crush on a couple, as an entity? Highly recommended.
But then you’re headed different ways, and in thirty seconds you say goodbye forever. I’m so used to saying temporary goodbyes – see you. Talk to you in a bit. Later. Cheerio, my good chap. I’ve started just saying have a nice life.
People tell me that if I’m ever in their city/country/loosely governed international zone, I should look them up. But I’m not going to be, and we both know that. At least we’ll always have Granada.
Still, if anyone tries to tell you that Australian couple is more important than Spain, geopolitically speaking, they’re lying.