Travelling as a backpacker, it is sometimes hard to anticipate what will happen during the journey. It is not just the backpacker’s mind that changes. The people surrounding you, places, smells and the way you perceive them, as well as itineraries are in a transformation. Therefor it is calming to a young traveller’s soul to have at least a basic idea which to corner of the earth to go, so you can put some pins on the map by booking flights. That way you have something to hold on to. However, I am blessed with something else I can be sure of in the following weeks: company!
But wait. You might have thought that I am super fond of travelling solo. As you could read in my recent posts, I enjoyed it and learned a lot about myself by hitchhiking around Argentina and Uruguay (I’ll tell you about Uruguay another day, promise!). The idea was to prepare myself for a 50 days trip around South America as soon as I finished my internship in Buenos Aires. But then I happened to talk to a former schoolmate, Anna, by stalking her well shot Instagram photos. Not having talked for years, we chatted a little. Will you come visit me in my hometown Mariazell? She asked. I replied thankfully that I would love to come, once being back in Austria. What about a visit South America? I asked, just for fun and wanting to be as kind and openminded as she is. Yes, I’d love to come! She said. Whaaaat? From that moment on, my travel playlist changed from a solo to a duet.
Foz do Iguaçu, close to the stunning waterfalls, whose name mean “big water” in the indigenous Guaraní language, was the place we met. It is told that it was built by their god, who, in his anger about the beautiful woman Naipu, who planned to flee with her lover Taruba, decided to cut the river with all his divine force, deciding her fate to be falling down the waterfalls forever. The 18 hours bus ride, which also seemed never ending, brought me there. Anna arrived by plane from the other end of the world.
Not having expected me at the same evening, I surprised her in the hostel we were supposed to meet the next day. Hugs, kisses and chatting made the evening a great reunion! However, in the same place, we met Frederico, an elderly man with an interesting life story he was willing to share with us. His kindness and willingness to help brought us to amazing places and gave us the chance to catch a glance of Brazilian culinary offerings around Foz do Iguazu, such as tasty Acai Ice cream and freshly made sugar cane lemonade. We turned out to be a great traveling match and did what all backpackers love to do: share stories!
In the first days of the trip an important lesson was learned. It is true that it’s really easy to get to know people when you are travelling solo – however, this sometimes happens because of boredom, loneliness or helplessness, so you force yourself to talk to people. However, when you travel with a friend, getting to know people is still possible, and sometimes more comfortable, as it is way easier to step out of the box hand in hand. What is more, you are learning to adapt your behaviour and to share not only your room, but also all the wonderful experiences.
While I am writing these lines, it is 5 o’clock in the morning. Not being connected to any Wifi at the airport, we will try to figure out where to go and how to get there – we don’t know yet. The only thing we know is that we will have another flight in some days. And, what’s is much more important, we are safe to know that we will enjoy whichever place we will go to!