A couple of years ago, I found myself (in Madrid) waiting in one of those eternal airplane boarding lines and I was feeling as bedraggled as I looked. I had the oncomings of a cold and had just ran to the gate at breakneck speed only to find that the line was stalled and snaking all over the departure waiting room. I was tired, but more than that, I was nervous about my arrival to Marrakech. I had no idea how to get to my hotel and my flight was arriving at midnight. The only thing I was sure about was that the airport was outside of the city and my hotel was somewhere in the center. If I was in peak health, perhaps I would have seen this whole situation as an easily surmountable challenge, but with the flu coming on, it just seemed like a drag.
All of this was rolling around in my mind when I finally took notice of my surroundings, and more specifically, of the couple standing behind me in the long line. Peta and Ben. Peta struck up a conversation with me, and as we talked, I explained my current situation and asked if they wanted to share a taxi to the center of Marrakech. She offered me one better — she invited me to stay with them in their home exchange.
When people ask what compelled me to go home with two strangers the answer is so simple: it felt right.
The next morning, as we had breakfast together in our robes on a deck overlooking Jemaa el Fna square, I silently thanked my instinct for making the right decision.
The rest of my trip with Ben and Peta was spent chatting, doing yoga on the deck, snuggling up under thick blankets to get warm, passing my flu to Peta (sorry, Peta!) and wandering around the city and souk in Marrakech.
What was meant to be a two day stay in Marrakesh turned into nearly a week.
What struck me most about my time with Ben and Peta was how comfortable I felt with them. There was no need to talk when we didn’t feel like talking and no need to entertain each other, so when we parted ways, I knew we would bump into each other again one day.
Fast forward a couple years and I found myself in another long airport waiting line — this time from Portugal to Colombo. I was on my way to a journalism conference in Sri Lanka for my work.
Because I follow Green Global Trek, I knew that Ben & Peta are now living in Sri Lanka. At the time I first met them, they were nomadic travelers, with no home base.
From their blog posts, I knew that their new home was not too far from Galle and I thought I would drop them a note to see if they wanted to grab lunch. Once again, Peta and Ben stepped it up a notch and invited to me to stay at their beautiful home.
Bandu, Ben and Peta’s wonderful (and recently passed friend), picked me up in his tuk tuk and brought me through rice paddies and winding lanes to their house in the jungle. When I arrived, I was greeted by both Peta and Ben at the door and, once again, I felt right at home.
Peta and I chatted about life, yoga and travel. Ben, as he is prone, helped me reimagine and process some troublesome issues in my life.
After an incredible dinner (which involved more brainstorming about my life goals), we made our way back to the house and just relaxed. And this is what I remember most about being with them, aside from the great conversations and shared interests, we can just be in each other’s presence. Peta read, while Ben and I worked on our laptops.
Thinking back about this short reunion, this is what I remember: I remember warm light casting shapes from Ben’s ceramic wall sconces, crickets singing outside, the dogs rustling by the front door, the breeze from the fan, and the feeling of being truly welcomed into someone’s home.
Peta & Ben: As global nomads, we value experiences and memories, and friends who dot a global landscape and surface in our lives every so often. Many friends have been made during our travels and one of the joys of these friendships is meeting up again at different times in our lives, in different countries.
So much fun to serendipitously reconnect yet again, this time in Sri Lanka, and look forward to more, somewhere, sometime down the road. Maybe in Portugal, where Andrea now lives.
Andrea, thanks for writing a guest post for Green Global Trek!