Travel Stories

Reflections from 10 Countries in 2019

I can hardly believe that is already May, 2020, where as the time gone? I don’t want to post the ugly statistics of my first full year of international travel, that would make it so cold, impersonal. Rather I want to share the “Real Experiences” that I enjoyed! Here is hoping for more travel in the near future. As some full time house sitters are choosing to find permanent spots to live I however choose to “Keep my Dream Alive”!

So in no particular order, but rather as I remember them, here they are:

  • Ajijic, Mexico stepping into a crowded restaurant I scan the area for a table, as a solo woman does when she is hungary. I am asked “Would you like to join me?” There at a 4 chair table sits a single, mature woman. Do you hear the voices? the ones in my head? Normally I would say “Oh no that’s ok” but this day, starved, I hush them and say “Ok thank you”. Well as the small chat leads into the story telling and explanation of our lives I learn that she has lost her husband to cancer and we have experienced many of the same feelings, events, struggles, losses in friends, our lives as we knew them. Suddenly, after a 2 1/2 hour lunch we exchange contact information with the empty promises to “stay in touch”. Wow, did that just happen?
  • Airport Pickups – I am greeted by homeowners that I may or may not have seen via videos or pictures and yet we recognize each other straight away. Hugs, help with luggage, greetings it is always a joyous occasion no matter the country or time of day!
  • The Italian train ride from Magenta to Milan in the last car of the train where the bicycles ride, I find myself in a car full of food delivery young men! You see them everywhere with the big, square, insulated bags on their backs, riding on bikes through crowds. Most of the train cars are not marked(or you don’t have time to see the little bicycle drawing) and always they leave the station quickly so I get on the car that has stopped in front of me. Quickly I realize that this car is not a regular car with rows of seats and a luggage rack in the back, but a car for cyclists to pack their bikes side by side with a few seats by the windows. After I gather myself and luggage I realize it is not worth the struggle to push my way to the next car that is full of passengers so I sit myself down next to a young man and begin the small chat. Where are you from? Where are you going? Am I on the right train? laughing all the way. I immediately think he is a leader, he is instructing and giving advice to the other young men from Nigeria riding the slower train into Milan to work. Delivering food to people who really don’t care about them but only concerned about their delivery of food, hot and fresh from Just Eat or Uber Eats. He tells me he will help me when we get to Milan, what does that mean? And will he REALLY?. I am thinking how hard can it be to exit the station and find the bus to the airport. Well let me tell you if I had not had this angel I would have missed my flight which was 3 hours away. As we exit the train we immediately go up an escalator and around and through and up again. He takes one of my rolling bags in his left hand, his right hand is holding his bicycle and all the while pleasantly guiding me. As we exit the station we walk swiftly down the crowded street, dodging fashionably dressed italians that could be on their way to a photo shoot, but certainly not on their way to lunch (again, I am starving). As we finally approach the main train station in Milan I am led around the left corner of the beautiful, ornate, historic building to see buses! Finally the buses! The young man then confirms which bus is going to the airport by asking a man at a small booth looking at his phone, he confirms the bus directly behind him. I hand my money to a young woman, who by the way does not make eye contact but takes my money and quickly hands me a ticket, then is on to the next sale. “My young man” loads my luggage for me, we exchange hugs and kisses (italians do two, side to side) and I give him all of my coins with more gratitude then I can explain. I had an angel on my side for this one. I wish him much success, truly I do!
  • Friendly Neighbors all over the world! My first Boxing Day invitation was from a beautiful woman in the UK. My first soccer game in the streets of Spain with two cute boys wanting to practice their english. My first afternoon tea, where else but England!

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