#TBT – It’s A Small World
Traveling is a great way to build new connections and the world becomes smaller and smaller when you start running in the strange circle of wanderers, but there’s still so many coincidences that I almost can’t help but believe it’s fate — almost. Exhibit A:
While teaching English in Itararé, one of the best weekend excursions Gabe and I took was to Florianópolis in Santa Catarina. As per the usual style we chose to go and stay with some Couchsurfing hosts. Felipe, in the red shirt on the left, was our host and working hard to open a hostel in the house that he’d bought. In the meantime, however, he was hosting as many as eight people at a time (there’s all seven of us and his friend holding the puppy). Nothing unusual yet. The girl in the middle with the yellow tank top is Kivia, as crazy a world traveler/hitchhiker as myself, but with years more experience. After we all survived the ridiculously muddy and treacherous hike to a completed deserted and drop dead gorgeous beach on the southern part of the island we all became quite good friends.
Several months later, after Gabe and I had made our way up to Venezuela via Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia, we came to an impasse. Our original intentions to go through the Amazon and hitchhike all the way back to São Paulo became both fiscally and temporally impossible so he flew back to São Paulo and I to Mendoza, Argentina. Guess who Gabe stayed with in São Paulo? Of course our good friend Kivia. I don’t know what shenanigans they got up to in SP (I’ve seen some hard to decipher pics), but the important connection here was Gabe met Kivia’s friend Frederico, aka Freddy. I believe sometime in their conversation something about Freddy thinking about going into animation came up and Gabe said something about me, film school, blah, blah, blah.
A little more than a month after I returned to LA, Gabe drove down from Nipomo, CA where he’s currently living, to pay a visit. Here come the coincidences people! Guess who was in town just for this 2 days that Gabe was coming into town. None other than Kivia, who had made her way down to Tierra del Fuego and headed back north, hitchhiked through Mexico, and on her way now to San Francisco to catch a flight to South Korea was making a stop in LA to visit friends she’d work with when she was 17 at Six Flags. So Gabe and I went out to eat with the whole crew and an addition… Freddy. He was right on the verge of starting his first year at my dear old Alma Mater (sarcastically), USC, in the graduate program for animation. I found his enthusiasm for starting the program refreshing, though I told Gabe that I was maybe 99% sure USC was going to crush his spirit. Of course, we said we should hang out, normal formalities, etc., etc.
And now I’m sitting, staring out at the rain muddling the perfect ocean view, in his dad’s place in Salvador, Bahía and I’ll likely be having lunch, for the second day in a row, at his mom’s place down the street. Though we didn’t meet up for quite some time, eventually Freddy did call me to hang out and we’ve since hung out on several occasions, our favorite hold out around the arts district in Little Tokyo.
I don’t know what kind of forces guide this world, but I think the messy string of events that led to these interactions is nuts! Seriously, everyone is in the same place the same weekend… he’s going to the same school I did… not to mention all the ridiculous and unknown events that played a factor in the 3 traveler timelines of me, Kivia, and Gabe. Sure Freddy would have ended up in LA regardless, but considering I like to keep USC away with a 39 and 1/2 foot pole, I think it’s highly unlikely we would ever have met.
And if you’re wondering… USC has crushed his spirit, just a little;) Which gives us something to talk about…