How I met Ken

by Caitlin on October 16, 2012

A dear friend I’ve met during my travels recently asked me why I traveled. One would think this is an easy question to answer, but all I could say was “because I love traveling.”

“Why?” He asked.
“Because…” I replied.

So the converstaion went a like that for a little while, simply because I didn’t really have an answer for him. I knew what he was doing, though. He kept pushing for a real answer. He wanted me to dig deep. We all do things for a reason, and he wanted to get to the bottom of it. More than anything, he wanted ME to know why I travel.

Surprisingly, this wasn’t a question I had asked myself before. I just love the feeling of being in a new place. The excitement of what might come next. The idea of being lost. Most of all, who I’ll meet next!

Suddenly, I got it! It’s not about where I go, it’s about the people I meet. Over the years, I have met some of the most fascinating people. Every single person I’ve met during my travels has inspired me in some way. Inspired me to discover life, discover what people love, what people live for! For me, traveling is about relationships. The relationships between people…and the relationships I develop with the people I meet.

I started to think about how I met my friend, Ken, the guy who’s asking me this question to begin with.

I had just arrived in Buenos Aires. It was my first time in Argentina, and I was all by myself…not knowing a soul when I got there. This was very typical for me, as I usually travel on my own. I hadn’t made any plans to go to Argentina, it really just happened because I found a great deal on Flyertalk, a flight from LAX-EZE for $287! Next thing I know, I was in Buenos Aires!

One morning I decided to take the Buenos Aires Free City Tour, I figured this is a good way to get to know a new city, plus, it’s FREE! We had a fairly small group that morning, and our lovely tour guide introduced herself and then asked us all to introduce ourselves and tell everyone where we’re from. As we went around, I noticed that our small group were mostly Americans, from Texas, California, Illinois. The guy next to me said he’s from Chicago, then it was my turn…I said Portland, OR!

As the group continued introducing themselves, the guy from Chicago turns to me and tells me that he’s from Portland, too. I looked at him and said, “No you’re not, you said you’re from Chicago!” “I live in Chicago now, but I’m from Portland, OR.”

At first I didn’t quite believe him, so I started giving a little more detail about the area I’m from, just to see if he is familiar with Portland. Surprisingly, not only did he know the area well, but he started naming some cross streets of the neighborhood I’m from! As we got deeper into our conversation, we discovered that we went to the same high school at the same time! Yes, we even shared some of the same teachers! We didn’t know each other because our high school was quite large, with over 2500 students. He was also a couple of years ahead of me, so we never shared the same classes and never crossed paths.

For years Ken and I had lived less than a mile apart from each other, yet we did not meet each other until years after we’ve both moved away. What’s more, we met in Buenos Aires of all places, 7000 miles away from where we lived!

It doesn’t matter when or where, the important thing is that we met. It is true that this world is a small place, yet it is vast at the same time. I’ve come to realize that life works in mysterious ways, we don’t get to choose the when, where or how…but I think that each and every individual we come across will somehow shape our own lives and make us who we are.

Me and Ken having “submarinos” at the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires

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