Small World Moments

I have been traveling quite a bit in the last few years and it seems as if the world has been getting “smaller”.  I find myself constantly

CC by Jason Rogers

having “small world moments”. You know that moment when you are sitting in a hostel with a fellow Canadian and you realize you have the same friend?  It has been happening to me so much so lately that I have decided to start making a list and writing it all down. Each time it happens (or when I remember one I forgot) I’ll add it to the list. Feel free to comment below to tell me about yours! :)

  • In August 2009 I was fairly new to the twitter scene and had been following @nomadicmatt. We had written back and forth to each other a few times but that was about it. At the end of the month I was heading to Spain for La Tomatina and I knew he was too but that was all.

I arrived in Valencia on a Monday afternoon and that night I was in the hostel partying at the bar when I turned around and thought I saw a familiar face. I looked at the guy and said “Matt?” and he looked at me and said “Cailin O’Neil!” In all the hostels and hotels in all of Valencia during one of their busiest weeks of the year where 40,000+ people visit for La Tomatina Festival not only had I ran into this traveling American I randomly met online but he was staying at the same hostel as me! Then again 2 days later in the middle of the largest food fight in the world amongst the 40,000+ people squeezed in the small town of Buñol streets we saw each other again.

  • In February 2010 I traveled to Fiji where I met Hanna from Sweden who was also traveling around. Later that March Hanna traveled through Australia and finally returned home to Sweden in April. In May I visited her in Sweden and while visiting her she said to me “You said you were from Halifax right? I think I met a girl from there when I was in Australia.” I didn’t know her but we pulled her up on facebook and I had 10 friends in common with her.

  • This one isn’t “as far” of a long shot but for it all to happen within a 10 hour period makes it crazy. In May I went to Newfoundland for the first time ever to party and hang out with @candicewalsh. Within my first hour there we were walking down the street in St. John’s headed to Signal Hill and we passed a guy sitting on the on the sidewalk with his head down reading a book. I did a double take as he looked familiar, I told Candice I thought I knew him but thought it couldn’t be him and kept walking.

As Candice and I hung on for dear life walking along the pathway on the side of Signal Hill at the narrows a group of people walked passed us going the other direction. As I saw them coming one of the guys again looked familiar and I said to him “Are you Drew?” and it turns out it was this guy I went to University with and had traveled on a University trip to France with before. It was his first time ever in Newfoundland as well, just doing the touristy thing like me. I realized he knew the guy I thought I had just seen and asked if he was living in Newfoundland and Drew told me that he was and that was probably him. So that is two people I knew within 1 hour in a city I’ve never been.

Later that night Candice and her roommates held a keg party. One of Candice’s roommates had a friend who showed up with 11 guys from Halifax. I had actually met one of them before in Halifax and I had friends in common with at least 3 or 4 others.

  • When I flew to Australia in February 2010 there was a guy I went to high school with on my flight from Toronto to Vancouver. Another time I was flying to London and a different guy that I went to high school with was on my flight.
  • Whenever I visit Toronto I always run into someone from home, without fail. Every. Single. Time.
  • July 2010 through twitter I met Celeste Brash of Lonely Planet and saw that she was visiting Halifax, Nova Scotia updating a guide book so we met up for dinner. While chatting I noticed she was wearing a pearl necklace and I asked if it was Tahitian as she lives in Tahiti. It reminded me of a Tahitian pearl necklace that I had bought an ex-boyfriend many years before. We got to talking about it and it turns out that I had bought the necklace from her husbands pearl farm in Tahiti in January of 2007.
  • In September 2010 on a random road trip I found myself in a bar called Baba’s in Charlottetown, PEI and I saw a friend that I work with in Halifax in the bar who was randomly in PEI as well.
  • In September 2010 I volunteered at the first Canadian Surf Film Festival and while volunteering I made friends with a girl from the West Coast and when we added each other on Facebook we found out that we had a friend in common that I grew up going to school with but she had met him out west.

Please share your stories of small world encounters too!

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  • Reply
    The Global Traveller
    October 24, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    Happens to me all the time, most recently earlier today on a flight from Dubai I ran into someone I’d met on a flight a couple of years ago.

    The spookiest case was many years ago when I ran into a neighbour while wandering around some backstreets in Venice. Neither of us knew the other was going away let alone where.

  • Reply
    July 12, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    One time when in Paris I was sitting with a friend outside at Cafe de la Paix near the Paris Opera. My French teacher from around 5 years earlier from Holland walked by with her family, and they ended up joining us for a drink. It’s weird because there is a legend that if you sit long enough at Cafe de la Paix you will always see someone you know which someone told me about later.

    • Reply
      July 12, 2010 at 6:08 pm

      Wow! that is very cool Margo!!
      I am going to have to find this Cafe the next time I’m in Paris and test it out! ;) I love stuff like that!

      [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  • Reply
    Drew Meyers
    July 5, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Hey Cailin-
    Just found your site and enjoying it so far. Speaking of La Tomatina…I’m going there for it this year! I’m so stoked! If anyone else happens to be heading that way next month, let me know.

  • Reply
    Adventurous Kate
    June 22, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    Being from Boston, there’s always the BC (Boston College) name game.

    Me: “You go to BC?”
    Dude: “Yep.”
    Me: “Do you know person X?”
    Dude: “Nope.”
    Me: “Do you know person Y?”
    Dude: “Nope.”
    Me: “Do you know person Z?”
    Dude: “Oh, yeah! He lived next door to me freshman year!”

    Works in three EVERY time!

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