It would be the shortest time I spend in a country on my trip. I had detoured my Singapore trip to meet a friend (AJ) there because he wanted to do a short trip with me. And after 5 months of constantly meeting people, a tiring travel romance, and the fact that I was nearing the end of my trip, I was starting to put less effort into meeting people.
So when I crossed the path of yet another Canadian in Singapore, I didn’t think too much of it. She recalls our first encounter with me making fun of her in our hostel. Of course that’s very me.
She was a Korean-Canadian (referred to as KLG from now on) from Toronto who took a break from work to travel. That break was almost a year. After which she would be returning to work with the same company. My trip was winding down while she was only halfway through hers. On the first night, we hung out as a group with two Americans and my friend AJ. It was the next night that I remember most vividly.
KLG and I ate dinner at a hawker center before taking a walk around the Marina Bay harbour to take photos. We chatted about fairly normal travel topics. Somehow, we got reached the story of K and I gave her a brief fill in. KLG had also just stepped away from one of her recent travel romances (in fact from Singapore) and she was feeling sad herself. Interestingly enough, KLG had quite a few things in common with K. They both seemed to think in a similar fashion and even some of the things she said reminded me of what K said. I told her that you two of them would probably get along.
We stopped by an ice cream cart that sold “ice cream sandwiches” wrapped in bread/wafers.
“You should tell her how you feel. She might surprise you.” KLG said. Sometimes we need someone to step forward she seemed to suggest. I always laugh thinking about that famous “advice line”. It was so golden because of what would happen. It wasn’t like what she said changed what I wanted to say or do. But yes, she did surprise me!
After that night, we briefly met again in Laos after I went to Bangkok and she went onwards to Malaysia. It was a really minimal interaction this time. Backpackers meet so many travelers that unless you have a good initial connection, you will seldom talk to the other person again. And it was not like we had some immediate and incredible connection of friendship. At least I didn’t think so.
But as I finished my trip and headed home, I found myself randomly chatting with her more. The biggest surprise I found out was that we had (what I considered) “highly compatible conversational chemistry”. She reminded me of a more friendly version of my ex-coworker (who I got along well with as well).
As she went on to pursue her travel romance further as the summer progressed while I settled back home. She jokes about our friendship being based on both of us mourning our travel romances. I laughed agreeingly but I know that is not true.
So it turns out while you usually make your friends while traveling, sometimes you make good friends after traveling.