Meeting with Strangers #1

Some of my friends asked me whether I met with strangers then engage into a conversation with them when I traveled. The answer is yes, several times. And I have talked about it in each separate traveling stories. However, it never harms to re-share the stories in one full post. I don’t really remember how much time I met and strike a conversation with strangers but I will ensure to do my best in reminiscing the moment back then. Since I also have traveled to a lot of places, mostly overseas and mostly in Europe when I was still a student.

Meeting a Street Musician in Spain

It was a long and exhausting Europe trip, my first time ever to do a solo trip. It was more special because I traveled by myself in Europe and I had so much hassle in the process of traveling preparation. From the rejected visa registration to the madness of Europe trip itinerary. I admit that I was young and foolish, I still do until today.

What I remember back then was this happened when I had to take a bus transit somewhere in Europe, a trip from Madrid to Barcelona using midnight bus. I remember clearly the official who process my visa application was dumbfounded when reading my itinerary. My friends too. And I do too, now. Strangely, it was possible to do all of that non-sense when I was younger. In this very first Europe trip, I kept taking a midnight bus so I can save a lot for accommodation. Probably if I didn’t choose this way, I won’t ever this man named Freddy.

Madrid bus station felt like usual bus station back home. It was crowded and not fancy, just enough for the traveler to sit and stay while waiting for their bus to come. I remember sitting close to the gate to avoid missing the bus because I know if I am not aware of my surroundings and I got distracted, then I will lost somewhere not to be found. That night, this stranger sit beside me.

Probably he found me interesting because I am the only one wearing hijab and doesn’t look like locals or probably he thought I looked so miserable sitting at the corner close to the gate. He strike a conversation by asking where I am from and how do I travel. Back then I was so naive that I even give my real name and residence, later on I realise that it isn’t safe. I really put down my guard and just being friendly to this man who said his name is Freddy.

Without me even asking, he started to tell stories about his life. After exchanging name and I mentioned that I live in London, he told me that he used to work at the bar where The Rolling Stones often sing. He didn’t really ask me a lot after that and if I remember that time again, I am relieved because I didn’t share too much information about me. It was about him.

He said that he’s currently on his way home. He chose to be a musician although it doesn’t give him much money for a living but apparently he looks so happy with his way of life. I don’t really remember the details of his story but the conversation with him somehow still lingering in my head. Probably because of the way he approached me so smoothly yet doesn’t feel harmful at all? Or maybe it’s just the way he suddenly talk about The Rolling Stones, the music he loves, his passion at music, and his concern for his parents made me hooked as his listener.

Our conversation didn’t really last long, Freddy had to go because his bus arrived faster than mine. I wonder how that man is doing right now after 5 years passing. Is he still become a musician or does he come back to London to work at that bar he was proud of?

Bumping to a Korean Student in Salzburg

I brought tripod and gorilla pods with me every time I traveled, it’s just I felt they are too hassle to use every time I wanted to take pictures. It made my baggage heavier and yet I still chose to ask strangers to help me take pictures. This one story happened because of that habit.

I was visiting Museum der Moderne Salzburg, the place that appeared on the episode of Wendy and Seulgi’s Battle Trip. It is said that you can see the beauty of Salzburg from its highest floor. And they weren’t lying. I was there, aside enjoying its contemporary art, I got to take beautiful of Salzburg at the dawn. It was surely one of the prettiest moment I’ve ever witnessed in Salzburg. As I don’t want to waste the eloquence, I asked strangers who also happened to be there to take my pictures. And it came out real nice. Again, I didn’t utilise my tripod because it was hassle to set up the tripod.

Turned out this man is a Korean student who had a vacation to Salzburg by himself. Me and my confidence self had the audacity to speak Korean so proudly which if I remember it and re-write it right now, I wanted to bury myself and not to be seen again by that man.

I even made a video which I uploaded to my social media telling this story.

We didn’t really strike any conversation, but I appreciate that this man responded to my non-sense behaviour. The older I get, the more I think my actions when I was younger embarrassing. Speaking with broken Korean, asking people about things they may not feel comfortable to share, breaking boundaries with my overly confidence personality. I am glad I didn’t do that lately when I travel. I must have been a nuisance for other people back then.

Meeting with Strangers is my personal project in 2024 in which I would like to post stories when I meet strangers from my journey. It's currently on going and I hope I can finish it by the end of the year. Consider it as a slice of life story and part of my solo traveling journey.