It's a small world!

Travel Forums General Talk It's a small world!

1. Posted by ToonSarah (Travel Guru 1374 posts) 1y 1 Star this if you like it!

We're off on a trip to North Korea soon and have opted for a small group tour as independent travel without a guide isn't allowed there. On Friday we received all the information from our tour company (itinerary, background notes, flight tickets etc). One thing they included was a list of the people in our group and skimming through the names (to check we were both on the list!) I saw a familiar one - the name of a person I once worked with (back in 1998-2003) - not a common name but equally not totally obscure.

I was a senior manager and she was in the middle management level, but didn't report to me, and although we knew each other we never worked closely, so I know little about her travel habits or what she has done since I left that organisation. I decided to dig around and see if I could find out if it could be the same person. I tracked down my ex-colleague via a mutual friend on Facebook, sent a friend request and then messaged her. And yes, it is she! Our group is just 16 in number, two of whom are of course me and my husband, so what are the chances I wonder that someone I knew could be among those 14 people travelling to N Korea at the same time. It's not exactly a popular destination - although of course that means that there are relatively few tours from which to pick.

If we hadn't been sent that list we would have been very surprised to see each other when the group assembles in Pyongyang! Have you ever had a similar encounter with someone you know in a completely different context while travelling?

2. Posted by rosensfole (Budding Member 3 posts) 1y 1 Star this if you like it!

Back in the mid 90s I was in a casino in South Lake Tahoe whereupon I heard a familiar English voice. I looked up from my blackjack table to see my next door neighbour pulling the arm of a bandit machine. I told him that I didn't travel 8000 miles just to see him! Neither of us had mentioned trips to California only that we'd be in the US at the same time.

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4. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 1913 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

My father has done - in 1950 he met a college friend in Piccadilly Square - I don't think that was totally unexpected as my father was in England to give a paper in Oxford and perhaps his college friend was also there for the same reason. He also met a former student in Copenhagen on the same trip. His student was a doctor in the Army, stationed in Germany.

My brother-in-law organizes people to go on cruises together and he includes us in his group although we have a different travel agent. So we eat with and meet people in his group such as the parents of his son-in-law, and the sister of his wife, but I don't really think that counts.

5. Posted by Borisborough (Moderator 1582 posts) 1y 1 Star this if you like it!

In July 2013, we were at a table on a beach in Marissa, Sri Lanka having just got back from a bus journey to Weligama. As I was drinking a beer, I noticed a family of two parents and two young children playing in the sand a few metres away. I thought I recognised them from somewhere but I had no idea from where, possibly a previous holiday. My wife didn’t even recognise them. After racking my brain for twenty minutes as I finished my beer, I decided to go up and talk to them. They had no idea who I was either but we went through previous holidays and very quickly we reached the fact that they were in a cabin on the River Kinabatangan in Borneo in December 2012 in the same lodge as we were. I think we might have said a mutual “hello” to each other while we were there but never actually held a conversation. We stayed on the beach and had a couple more beers with them and we’re now still in touch on F’book.

A couple of years ago I found out from F’book that a former student was in the Kuala Lumpur KLIA2 terminal waiting for a connection as were we at the time, by sheer chance. We met up for twenty minutes before we all had to go to our departure gates.

And in December 2018 we were in a hostel in Addis Ababa when my wife got a pm on F’book from someone who happened to be in the same travel group as us but who we had never met or interacted with. Apparently, she recognised our names in the register at the hostel and wondered if we were up for a beer (is the pope catholic?). After an evening of countless beers and a group growing from three to fifteen, we keep in touch with her and travelled through Syria with her last month.

It is a very small world, made much smaller by social media.

6. Posted by Teoni (Travel Guru 1427 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Last year we went to French Polynesia and did a cruise round the Marquesas islands. After the cruise most people head home but we booked a flight pass so we could island hop the Society archipelago. We first went to Moorea and visited the pineapple winery and while in the gift shop we bumped into a French lady that we had met on the cruise (she had the most amazing hair you couldn't miss or mistake her). After our drive round the Island we returned to our resort and in the lobby was a Parisian family of three who had been staying in the cabin just in front of ours during during the cruise. We had shared many a lift ride with them. We were so surprised to see each other, couldn't believe we were staying the same place. Afterwards we went on to two other islands and then at Raiatea airport waiting for our flight to Maupiti there is the Parisian family again (we also discovered we had the exact same suitcases) So we all fly to Maupiti together but this time they have accommodation on a motu while we headed to the main island. In fact a lot of people on that flight we kept running into on the island. The flights back to Papeete are sporadic from Maupiti so obviously we met the Parisians again and we all flew back together discussing our time on Maupiti (unfortunately they did not enjoy their time on the island for various reasons:(). At Papeete airport we finally split up. We were staying one more night to catch a morning flight to the Cook Islands while they were catching a flight that night to LA to get back to Paris. The world is definitely a tiny place in French Polynesia;).

[ Edit: Edited on 25-Aug-2019, 05:46 GMT by Teoni ]

7. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1721 posts) 1y 1 Star this if you like it!

We don't get to NYC often since we live on the west coast, but I have never walked down the street in NYC that I haven't met someone I know. It's almost a family joke.

We were sitting in a restaurant in St. Remy-en-Provence once and I saw a couple walk by and commented to my husband, "That looks like Edie and Ray." We kind of laughed it off although we did know they were planning to be in France at the same time, we thought they were farther north. About a half hour later, the same couple walked past and sure enough, it was them. Surprise! They had decided to visit St. Remy on the same day we had. Quelle coincidence.

8. Posted by ToddP (Moderator 225 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

We were on holidays one year in Turkey on a package holidays. One day we opted for a boat trip around a lagoon including other stops, etc. Guess what - on the boat there was a familiar face. Friend of our friends who we knew already through that friend and his girlfriend.

What a small world!