Only last year, I opened the gate to the apartment I was staying at, in the gorgeous Croatian town of Hvar, to hear a woman's voice (tinged with a hint of shock) shout my name. I turned round to find Heather; the person I used to sit next to in History lessons at sixth form college! This is someone I had, probably, not seen for about fifteen years! And, bear in mind the road on which the apartment was situated was a quiet one, a walk away from the centre of the town. Both surprised, we had a quick catch up, swapped Croatia tips and went on our way open mouthed at what had just happened. I then turned to my friend, who I was travelling with, and reminded him of the conversation we had the day before, as the ferry pulled into the dock, when I said that I had a strange feeling that I was going to meet someone I knew on the island! Odd, eh?!
This is not the first time this kind of thing has happened. In Brisbane, Australia, I was checking out the leaflets in a backpacker travel agent, when I looked up on hearing a Yorkshire accent; spotting a guy I went to university with. On that very same trip, I spent a couple of days travelling with a guy who had gone to agricultural college with a mutual friend and his younger brother, whom I attended primary school with. And, a week previous to that encounter, I walked into the common room of a hostel in Port Macquarie in New South Wales where I got chatting to a girl from my home city, Hull; whom I later discovered when showing her mum photos of her year in Australia, instantly recognised me as the student who had worked with her as part of a work experience module for my degree course four years previously!
The strangest random meet, however, came when travelling with Irish friends I had met in New Zealand, around the south west of Ireland. We were in a hotel in the Kerry town of Dingle, when I spotted a face I recognised. I stopped the guy and, yup...he confirmed that he was indeed one of the Irish guys from the 3 day boat trip I took round the Whitsunday Islands, 3 years before. So, whilst travelling to one country to meet friends I had met in another, I bumped into a random acquaintance, I had met in another country. Weird, but I enjoy these meets. These random encounters make me realise how small the world really is and, though probably in part down to my 'Terminator-like' ability for facial recognition, I am always surprised how often this happens.
So, keep your eyes peeled and listen out for your name. You never know what old school friend, ex-partner or former travel buddy you may encounter as you make your way through life!
If you have already had some similar experiences to me why not share them in the comments box below. I would love to hear about them!