So one time in Thailand I was running out of time on my visa. The nice people I was travelling with had decided to leave the country, but I wanted to stay. So I travelled to Chiang Mai and applied for a visa extension.
This involved a three-hour bus ride over massive mountains covered in thick jungles, then an hour taxi ride. Then getting lost. Then getting all the paperwork done, photos taking. Then lining up for an hour, only to be told you need copies of everything, getting out of the line, getting copies made, then entering the line again. And waiting for four hours for your number to come up before finally losing your patience and just barging up to the counter and waiting in line.
Anyway, it was the end of a long day with tearful goodbyes. I was pleased I’d got my extension. But tired and drained because of Bureaucracy. And with my travel partners gone, I was feeling kind of dejected. Weird, right? People all around, but no one to talk to.
Just as I was going to turn in, a guy came up to me from a small group that was forming up in the common area of the hostel. Offers me a drink and a chat. I nearly said no, because I had an early taxi back to the bus, followed by another trek back over the mountains.
But I didn’t say no. I said yes.
And after that, I found myself adopted by a group of around 25 of the most interesting, caring and unintentionally cool travellers it was possible to meet. Drinks flowed, stories were shared, and plans made to meet up in the next town.
And sure enough, that’s exactly what happened. Two days later, my new family turned up in town, and we stayed together for nearly a month.
It was the best of times.