A serendipitous friendship: guest post by Andrea

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 home exchange was a large and gorgeous “Riadh” (traditional multistory Moroccan home). We all felt as though we were in an interior decorator magazine!

This home exchange came with a housekeeper, who made us delicious Moroccan breakfasts.

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.

Days were warm, but late afternoon a definite chill set in. We snuggled up on the deck in our newly bought knitted wool caps and fluffy white duvets.

Meet another yogi and odds are we will get along. Sometimes really well….. 🙂

What was meant to be a two day stay in Marrakesh turned into nearly a week.

Rose pink walls and carved doorways of Marrakech.

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.

Sri Lankan breakfast delivered by Nilu ~ traditional string hoppers, fish curry, dahl and bananas straight off the tree.

Stopping in to visit the yoga shala nestled in the jungle nearby.

From a rooftop in Marrakech, to a hammock in Sri Lanka

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!

43 thoughts on “A serendipitous friendship: guest post by Andrea

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Andrea, thank you for taking the time to write a guest post. It was lovely to host you in Sri Lanka. Hope to see you in the comment section and then again in Portugal.


  1. Lynn Martin

    I loved reading about your experience with Peta & Ben as this is exactly how I envision them to be, welcoming & warm. How wonderful for you to have met each other & had the opportunity to spend time together. I honestly believe if people from all walks of life & corners in the world had time to spend together, there would be far less conflict in the world.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Lynn, thank you for the lovely compliments. It is interesting how many friends we have made along our travels and in life, just by speaking to a “stranger”. Because of course, one never knows, until one starts a conversation.

      Unfortunately today, for example, in the U.S. most children are taught NOT to talk to strangers, and while we understand the basis for this guidance, sadly, it leads to a generation of Americans who veer toward being afraid of strangers and people they don’t know, or are different from them. We experienced this first hand when we were back in Chicago and tried to strike up conversations with kids we met on the street, bus or in stores. In 99.9% of cases, the kids stared at us blankly ~ the only exception were the Latino kids. This in direct comparison to children all over the world we have met along our travels who delight in talking with people they do not yet know.

      Ben & Peta

  2. Janis

    Serendipitous is the perfect description of your friendship. I’m not surprised at all that Peta and Ben welcomed you with open arms into their home and life. I have a feeling this won’t be that last time the three of you get together.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Janis it is interesting how many serendipitous friendships have started in similar ways to this for me. Another lovely friendship and story which comes to mind, started in a coffee shop in San Francisco and ended up with my inviting Maya to visit us in Nicaragua. Which she did and she volunteered her time with our bamboo company and we had the pleasure of her company for a month. Now we just need to create the opportunity for a reunion with her! (She too wrote a guest blog post for Green Global Trek, after her stay.)


  3. Louise Terranova

    What a lovely post. For a minute there I thought a second meeting was going to be in another queue in another airport! What a lovely time you had together and Andrea how great is it to have friends who you can spend time with and re evaluate life from well outside it, being in another country.

    Peta, thanks for sharing Andrea. Your Sri Lankan paradise home looks like it is coming along..I am well behind with your blog and most blogs I follow. Happy New Year, Louise

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks Louise. I was thrilled when I opened my emails recently to discover that Andrea (whom we befriended in the queue in Madrid) would be coming to Sri Lanka. I love reunions with friends, especially when they take place in different parts of the world, as they have so often for us. The sweet moments of friendships.

      Happy New Year to you too.. we wrote a few posts which give updates on our house. Because we are renting, we are now in a place where the house is comfy and charming and we can sit back and enjoy it and use it for home exchanges and air b and b as well as an added benefit.


    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks! Because we have lived in so many different parts of the world, we do have good friends all over the globe. Meeting them in different countries for reunions is a definite plus and added joy to our lives.

      Thinking here of two very good friends, both of whom we initially met in Nicaragua.

      Brook: We reunited again in India, Chicago, Puerto Rico, Viet Nam and Sri Lanka.
      Monica: We reunited in India and Chicago.

      Of course these friendships are not the conventional types that come from living in one place and seeing each other regularly over the years. But with social media today, we can easily keep up, keep track and hopefully keep reuniting.


      1. The Widow Badass

        Agreed Peta! This is one of the pluses of social media. It gets a lot of bad press these days, but for those of us who lived before it, it remains a great way to stay in real-time touch with far-flung friends and relatives!


        1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

          “for those of us who lived before it”… that is a classic, haha. How the world has changed since those days, pre social media. Since technologies advances are exponential, one has to wonder what will become normal in the next ten years? ~ Holograms? Ability to record and replay dreams? Virtual reality applied to personal experience recording… etc.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Hear hear. More than chance encounters we think of them as created opportunities. Which are everywhere. Every line you stand in, plane you sit next to someone in, class you take, are all opportunities to talk to strangers and make friendships.

      Thanks for stopping by to read us and leave your feedback.


    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks Lisa. If anyone understands the “friendships formed on the road” it is you. Although in your case, it is probably “on the sea”… Looking forward to meeting you in person in Sri Lanka soon!! Happy sailing.


  4. Joanne Sisco

    Hi Andrea – it was nice to ‘meet’ you via Green Global Trek. Just as other people have said, this is exactly what I imagined Peta and Ben to be like – open, engaging, warm and welcoming.

    On the flip side, that’s likely everything they also saw in you 🙂

    May all our travel adventures end with new friends and great stories!

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Andrea, hope you are following all this lovely feedback on your post! Aw, thanks Joanne and yes, that is exactly what we saw in Andrea. Here’s to 2018’s adventures… wonder which friends we will reunite with and what new friends we will make. Thanks Joanne.


    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks LuAnn, glad you enjoyed it. I realize you can’t drive your RV over the ocean, but when you are ready for an adventure to Sri Lanka, it would be great to meet you both too! Looking at your upcoming trip to Argentina, Ben says “don’t forget to eat media luna ~ an Argentine variant on the French croissant and as much dulce de leche as humanly possible!


  5. Anita @ No Particular Place to Go

    I am always amazed by the lovely people from around the world that we meet while traveling and now, as a blogger, the community of friends from vastly different backgrounds that I’ve met through my virtual travels. Friends are golden! This post only confirmed what I’ve thought about you two: generous, warm-hearted and welcoming. Hopefully, our paths will cross someday, on your continent or mine!

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Such a lovely heart warming comment Anita. Turns out that Andrea is sort of your neighbor. She lives North of Lisbon in a small village where her grandfather owns a house. We are eager to get back to Portugal and to visit her, so you never know, our paths may well cross one day!


  6. Darlene Foster

    These meetings, of course, are no accidents but isn’t it wonderful when they happen. I had a feeling Ben and Petra would be exactly as you described. They may have to move now though as everyone will be coming to visit. <3

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Hahaha Darlene, too funny! We love having people visit us in our adopted countries! It creates an interesting bridge between our lives here and life in other countries. Ben wants to know when you are going to write your “Amanda in Sri Lanka” book ~ elephants, temples, jungle.


  7. caroline

    Indeed a serendipitous meeting in a place that we all dread (those horrible airport queues). My hat goes off to you Andrea for going with your gut, and to you Peta and Ben for your generosity and warmth. Thanks for sharing this lovely story.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks Caroline, so glad you enjoyed this post. It’s nice to meet people who say “yes” to opportunities for experiences and don’t operate from a place of fear.

      Ben & Peta

  8. Shari Pratt

    Andrea, Peta, and Ben – more proof of the way people can live, sharing friendship, hearth, and stories. From all I’ve read on this blog, I’m not surprised that Peta and Ben would invite strangers into their home because they make friends out of strangers all over the world. No walls but open hearts.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Shari thank you for this very heartwarming flattering comment. As we have written before “strangers are just friends we have not met yet…” (Of course, strangers who happen to be global nomads and yogis, such as ourselves, have a higher probability of getting invited in.. hahaha.) But then again, Peta is known to talk to people everywhere and al the time. A smile is all that is required to initiate.


  9. Amit

    Oh the joys of travel, of trusting our instincts and going with the flow… Our paths cross those of others for so many reasons, many of which lead to warm and easy friendships such as this. It’s no surprise that Andrea waxes prolific about the welcome she received from Peta and Ben.. their generosity, compassion and joy shine brightly through their/your stories and images. Thanks so much for sharing your serendipitous connection, Andrea…I look forward to crossing paths with the greenglobaltrekkers myself someday!

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Trusting one’s instincts and “going with the flow” are key elements of travel, which is why we stay away from rigid planning in order to leave room for improvisation on the road and for life to happen… We have met so many interesting people along our travels as we are sure you have too.

      Amit thanks for your kind comments. I do hope we get to meet one day, either here or on your island.

      Peta & Ben

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