When Strangers are Friends That Haven’t Met Yet

Have you ever planned a travel with people you haven’t met and hardly know? Well, I just did.

While this wasn’t the first time I traveled with strangers, this was definitely the first time I planned one. The others have been treks, planned and organized by trekking organizations.

In recent times, I have become extremely choosy about the people I travel with and sometimes I wonder if it’s reaching a point of being qualified as an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Friends and relatives have suddenly started showing a keen interest of traveling with me. Some are all set to join me in my next trip, wherever it is and at whatever time it is. So much so that I am becoming tight lipped about my upcoming travel plans. While they are my near and dear ones and I love them immensely, I am wary to go on a travel with most of them. Perhaps I am being judgmental or it’s my conscious/unconscious bias that’s leading me to make assumptions that aren’t true. I don’t know. Or, I am just being selfish and want to fiercely safeguard my travel experiences.

Ironically, I don’t feel the slightest hesitation when planning travel with people I don’t know that well, and even better if I have a faint idea about their travel history. Perhaps it’s the sense of adventure that comes along with the unknown, explains it all. Or, maybe the fact that genuine and authentic connections energize me to the extent that I am willing to take the risk. Travel in any form is an adventure and the people you travel with always add to that adventure, which could go either way – positive or negative.

So, it wasn’t surprising when I found myself bundling into a car on a Friday night along with four others – one of them was a fellow blogger, who I had met in person a few days ago, the rest were strangers. We were all set to travel to Kozhikode for the weekend.

[Note: Kozhikode is correctly spelt as Kōḻikōḍ and pronounced as ‘Ko-yi-kode’.]

Debdutta Paul, the fellow blogger, one of the few people I have been privileged to connect with through WordPress, was coming to Bangalore on work. He was planning a travel with his friend and invited me to join in. After some initial skepticism of whether it would be a good idea to tag along with a bunch of youngsters, I agreed to join in.

As we started planning together on where we wanted to go, not for a moment it felt like I was planning with strangers. It started off with some compromises to suit each other’s availability and choice of the place of travel. The fact that everyone was willing to bend a little to accommodate the other was reason enough for me believe that this was going to be a great travel group. It was decided that we would be going to Agumbe rain forest and then to Udipi over a weekend. Soon two more people (Debdutta’s friends) joined the group. The place of stay and all other details were worked out and we were all set.

Just a few days before the trip, we got to know Agumbe was not happening. Monkey Fever came on our way and Forest Department was not allowing entry to visitors. We were set on going somewhere and canceling the travel was out of question. That’s how Kozhikode was decided after ample amount of brainstorming based on various factors.

Kozhikode, as a place, doesn’t have much to offer other than the food, specifically their biryani. However, the great company made the travel totally worth every moment. The journey is always more important than the destination and the people you travel with can make or mar that journey. And, this journey has been one of a kind, all for the wonderful people I traveled with – something that I shall cherish forever.

What we did at Kozhikode? I’ll write about that soon…

Author: neelstoria

Traveling, Gardening, Trekking, Hiking, Storytelling, Writing, Nature, Outdoors, Yoga, DIY

30 thoughts on “When Strangers are Friends That Haven’t Met Yet”

  1. Earlier today we were reminiscing about a trip we took with another couple when neither couple had traveled with others before. We were into the second day, each of us on our best behavior and perhaps a little stilted. Then a scene evoked an impromptu joke; everyone laughed and laughed. We all relaxed and joked our way through the next two fabulous weeks.

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    1. I can totally visualise that scene 🙂
      It gets a little more difficult to travel with people you know but haven’t traveled with before than to travel with complete strangers. The former comes with a little baggage of ‘the known’ and in the latter you wouldn’t care as much. But when like-minded travelers are together it can just be so much fun.
      Thank you so much Ralie, for visiting and reading.

      Like

    1. I can relate with the ‘mixed experience’, Arvind. It’s been the same for me when I’ve been on treks with complete strangers. In some cases, the people made the trek so much more fascinating, while in one case the people were such that the trek experience was impacted quite significantly. Thanks for visiting.

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    1. I know you’d relate to that! But I like how you put it – it’s for the self first 🙂
      Thank you for visiting and reading!
      And, I hope I will experience traveling with you some day, I feel you would make for a great travel partner 🙂

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  2. I know you have but I haven’t yet. I only do it with my friends, travelling with strangers to me has it own pros and cons. Maybe I’ll find it out when I finally book myself with such group. Nice to know that you had a wonderful time with stranger. Again , I just mentioned about a mini trek I did 2 weeks ago. It was from my office. As much I enjoyed the trip, I did not enjoy being with new faces. I’ve been working with them for some months now yet it felt like something was missing. Im such an ass. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am with you on the pros and cons of traveling with strangers. I have faced both. The bad stories did not make it to my blog 😀
      I can totally understand that feeling of not enjoying fully with your colleagues on the trek as I have been there too. Knowing people in an office set up doesn’t guarantee you’ll like being with them on trips. Especially for travels like treks, the people really really matter. In fact, one of my Himalayan treks was totally spoilt for some of the that were part of it.
      I would be interested in knowing how that trek was and where it was.
      Once again, I really appreciate that you visited my blog despite all the things that is keeping you so busy these days. So, thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Like any feedback is feedback, any experience is a good experience. I will set you for future. Am I right?
        Our first stop was pokhara, the majority of the treks either begin or end & sometimes both begin & end at Pokhara, I love this city. Every time I go there, it feels like Im somewhere else, the city never fails to amuze me. The next day after visiting World Peace Stupa, boating on the lake. and after visiting the other side of the lake, we headed Bandipur. which was a mini trek. I’ll share the pictures with you. If you want to. 🙂

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        1. Ya, please….you don’t even need to ask! I would love to see the pics. I have heard so much about Pokhara, hope I get to visit soon, maybe this year itself (if my wish of going to see Annapurna comes true). There is a Bandipur here too in Karnataka but its a reserve forest for preserving tigers.
          I will wait to see the pictures 🙂

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