Connections: Team Bamboo

Traveling is a wonderful way to meet people! Unfortunately, often those connections are strong but only fleeting. Connections is our tag to recognize and remember some of the wonderful people we meet.

If you’d like to contribute to help the people of Nepal recover from the devastating earthquake, please visit our page collecting some worthy causes.

We’ve described our experiences during the Earthquake in Nepal and now we’d like to write something a little bit more hopeful. We’ve written about a lot of Connections that we’ve made with amazing people on our travels. As great as those relationships were, it’s probably safe to say that they aren’t nearly as intense an the connections that we made with the people who sheltered with us in Bamboo after the earthquake in Nepal.

A lot of people ask us about what the group dynamic was in this large collection of people in a survival situation. It could easily have been pretty bad, with people taking an “every person for themselves” approach, but from the start it was exactly the opposite. Everyone was making sure that everyone else was ok, and sharing food and water.

As the days went on, this team spirit continued. Projects that were done were for the good of the group, and never just for an individual or small group. In many ways it was hard to find something to do to make yourself useful, because so many other people were volunteering to do the same thing!

Beyond the practical matters though, it was a great experience just interacting with this group of people. Even though the group was from all around the world, they all spoke English (which we are always amazed by). It was easy to pass the time by just striking up a conversation with whomever happened to be sitting on the rock next to you. Everyone kept a positive attitude, and when some would start to get weighed down by disappointing events, others were right there to pick them back up.

We have also been inspired by the different efforts that members of the group have started to help Nepal in the aftermath of the earthquake. You can find links to support their causes on our earthquake relief resources page.

Even though we were thrown together by a random twist of fate, the diverse group at Bamboo quickly became a team, surviving and working together. We forged a bond that we hope will last a lifetime!

Team Bamboo plus the staff of the Chabad House

Team Bamboo plus the staff of the Chabad House

Connections: Rick Steves, Wheel of Time, and Wine!

Traveling is a wonderful way to meet people! Unfortunately, often those connections are strong but only fleeting. Connections is our tag to recognize and remember some of the wonderful people we meet.

We were leaving Meteora, a little unsure what the day would hold. We were hoping to make it all the way to Delphi, not very far by distance, but at least 4 bus rides… we were told. We hadn’t even made a hotel reservation because we were slightly unsure that we would even make it all in one day. The first bus left at 8 AM, which is quite early for us. We were sitting at the bus stop, still trying to wake up, while waiting for the bus when we saw a welcome sight. Two more backpackers, heading our direction! As soon as they sat down, they said hello and we quickly found out that we were both planning this long confusing day of travel.

We found out over the course of our loong travel day that they were a couple also from the USA, who we really enjoyed chatting with. When we arrived in Delphi they graciously shared where they were staying. It had been on our list from when we were looking so we were pleased when we also were able to stay there.

The next day, we all left the hotel together and headed off towards the ancient site of the Oracle of Delphi. Here we were even more impressed with our new travel companions. Not only did they really know a lot about ancient Greece (we learned a lot!) but they were equally interested in hearing from our Rick Steves’ guidebook and even reading informational signs. Let me say that again: they wanted to hear from the guidebook AND take the time to read the signs. We were thrilled! There just aren’t that many people out there who can go as slow through museums and sites as we can (and wish to). We enjoyed a lovely day with them. It was so much fun we decided to hang out again the next day.

This time we decided to take a day long walk down from the mountain all the way to the coast. It was a long, lovely walk and we found that enjoyed them even more! They were into all the same TV shows and book series that we were. I mean, let’s be honest, there are not that many people out there who are super excited about Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series (OK, there probably are… we just haven’t met them!) Another great day.

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We all decided that we were having so much fun in Delphi that we wanted to stay another night. So, we had another fun evening of drinking wine in our hotel.

There was a little wine involved...

There was a little wine involved…

From there, we were all heading to Athens so we took another long journey together. We were fortunate to be able to meet one more time for dinner in amazing Athens, eating dinner practically in the shadow of the Acropolis. Another great connection with some amazing people! We were sorry to have to say goodbye!

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Our last dinner in Athens

Connections: Belgian Bikers!

Traveling is a wonderful way to meet people! Unfortunately, often those connections are strong but only fleeting. Connections is our tag to recognize and remember some of the wonderful people we meet.

We really enjoyed our time in Berat, Albania. We were able to meet and enjoy a lot of people from around the world. Not only did we meet an amazing Albanian tour guide/hostel worker, but we met another amazing traveling couple. This Belgian couple is traveling from Europe to Asia on bikes! Yes, that is correct, they are biking across the world! Amazing, right? Let’s just say that our trip felt positively cushy when thinking about theirs.

We met them during our tour of Berat and found we had a lot of similarities relating to our trip, age, and interests. We particularly enjoyed chatting about teaching (he works at a university to train teachers) and the differences between Belgium and the U.S. especially related to voting, politics, and other governmental systems.

One of the really fun things about meeting people on the road is being able to share experiences like this. We spent a wonderful day and fun evening with them in Albania. One of the really sad things about meeting people on the road is having to say goodbye knowing that it is unlikely that you will meet again. One of the slightly unusual things about this connection was that we didn’t have to say that goodbye right away. We knew that we were traveling the same directions, from Berat to Gjirokaster, and then on to Greece. They would be leaving ahead of us, though arriving behind us (they’re on bikes remember??) but we discovered we would be in Gjirokaster at the same time. We exchanged contact info and planned to meet up again. Unfortunately, our plans in Gjirokaster fell through. What a bummer! However, that made it all that much more fun when we realized a few days down the road that we would be in Meteora, Greece at the same time! We enjoyed another excellent evening with this excellent couple!

Now, it is hard to expect more than that, so we were especially thrilled when we saw the same couple (ever so) briefly in Delphi, Greece as well. After all of that, I hope we do manage to meet again some day!

Unfortunately, we failed and this was the only picture of us... Boo!

Unfortunately, we failed and this was the only picture of us… Boo!

Connections: Beer Recommendations turns into Business Class!

Traveling is a wonderful way to meet people! Unfortunately, often those connections are strong but only fleeting. Connections is our tag to recognize and remember some of the wonderful people we meet.

On our last evening in Prague, we decided to try the brewery near the Strahov Monestary. We hiked up the hill, which of course has some amazing views over the city.

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We sat down at the brewery and enjoyed a few of the beers. When we were almost done, a group of Americans sat down next to us. They asked us for some advice on which beers to try, which of course we answered. As we continued to chat, we found out that they were a group of flight attendants… who were working a flight to New York the following day… in the morning… It was the same flight as Donna and Steve were flying on! The flight attendants thought this was just as great a coincidence as we did and insisted on getting their names and a photo!

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We weren’t too surprised to hear that Donna and Steve met their friends again on the following day during their flight, AND got upgraded to business class for their trip home. Talk about a great connection! =)

Connections: New Friends at the Amber Tree

Traveling is a wonderful way to meet people! Unfortunately, often those connections are strong but only fleeting. Connections is our tag to recognize and remember some of the wonderful people we meet.

We truly enjoyed the Amber Tree Lodge in Cape Town. It had great common areas and a good group of travelers. We met many wonderful people from all over the world. We especially enjoyed chatting with people late into the evening: a new friend from Argentina, practicing his English, another from Chicago, a fellow teacher (so great to get in some good teacher talk), and more from the UK, dentists in training. Wine was consumed and a great time was had by all!

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Connections: Joining a South African Family in Zimbabwe

Traveling is a wonderful way to meet people! Unfortunately, often those connections are strong but only fleeting. Connections is our tag to recognize and remember some of the wonderful people we meet.

On our tour to Victoria Falls, we had known that we would be joining a group of 14 people. What we didn’t know was that they would be one large group and extended friend and family group from South Africa. We felt a bit like we were intruding on their private tour. But as the day continued, they made sure to take us in and keep us safe! It was such fun to chat with them (2 of them were teachers!) and learn from them.

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Connections: Friends over a Campfire

Traveling is a wonderful way to meet people! Unfortunately, often those connections are strong but only fleeting. Connections is our tag to recognize and remember some of the wonderful people we meet.

Our first night in Third Bridge Camp in Moremi Game Reserve on our self-drive safari, we were told that we had to share a campsite. We were frustrated because we had pre-booked the camp and no one had mentioned that it was a shared camp. We were also tired and stressed from our drives through deep sandy roads. But, in the end, we were so happy we shared a camp that night.

Our neighbors were three men: a grandfather from South Africa, his grandson from Namibia, and a family friend from England. They were very generous group who we were glad to get a chance to meet.

They shared their campfire with us when our bad wood just wasn’t working. Also, they were very knowledgeable about self-drive safaris as they were on a 6 week trip themselves. And they had done many of these in the past. We learned a lot about the routes we would take, driving in our truck, and game from them. It was a great connection that we were fortunate to have made!

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