This is the second instalment of the Travel Blogger Encounters series I am doing, documenting stories from my some of my favourite travel bloggers about an encounter on their travels that has made an impact on them. You can read the first part here.
Adam from Travels of Adam shares a cooking encounter from his time in Rome:
“On my summertime visit to Italy, I took a tour of Rome’s less touristic neighborhood with Eating Italy Food Tours. During the tour, they introduced us to the local farmer’s market in Testaccio, and we had the opportunity to meet some of the local vendors. My favorite was the “Tomato Poet” – Carmelo D’ Agostino. He’s the only vendor to only sell tomatoes in the market, and he’s got over 45 different varieties I sampled a handful (all delicious) and he playfully entertained us during the tour. The fact that he was so focused on tomato flavors really got me thinking about my own way of cooking, and the the food tour really helped me to rediscover just what makes food so special to a culture. Definitely a highlight of my trip to Rome!”
Alex, the Crazy Sexy Fun Traveler says ”It’s always about the people.”
“It can be locals or fellow travellers you meet on the road, but usually it’s them who make your time in a certain destination great or bad. I remember running into 4 Belgian guys first on the bus to Torres del Paine and then in the national park when trying to get warm in a restaurant. We talked for ages about traveling and couldn’t stop laughing. Then we kept meeting again by accident all over Argentina. It became kind of a habit to run into them in every place visited and even look forward to it. The best time was when I was sunbathing next to Perito Moreno glacier and all of a sudden they appeared there. Then we watched sunset together there. All our unplanned meetings became my best memories from Argentina and Chile.”
Erica from Over Yonderlust says living like a local is the way to go:
“Couchsurfing in Colombia not only changed our lives but made it one of our favorite countries in the world. Getting the locals perspective opened up traditions and customs I would have missed. Colombians are so warm and friendly that we ended up being taken in as part of the community and made lasting friendships. We want to go back and live there one day.”
Audrey of Uncornered Market shares a lovely story about the hospitality of locals:
“One of the encounters that really left us humbled and really moved happened in the small town of Zugdidi in the Republic of Georgia. We were about to leave the fresh market (usually, our first stop in a new place) and asked some of the market women we had talked with earlier about where we could find lobio, a Georgian bean soup that was difficult to find in restaurants.
One of the women told us to come with her and within minutes they had cleared a space for us and not only did they find lobio, but each of the market vendors came to give us something. The bread guy gave us some slices of bread, the cheese lady gave us cheese, the vegetable lady gave us some tomatoes and cucumbers, and it kept going around the market.
These market vendors really had very little, many were refugees. But they wanted to share with us of themselves, their food and their culture. The lesson we learned was this: the greatest generosity is one of spirit.”
Travel blog Backpacker Banter writer Chris shows how romance is still possible on the road!
“One of the great things about travel is the people you meet, whether it be the locals or fellow backpackers. You can be in the most dire situation, stuck on a 12 hour night bus, but a simple conversation can make it into a great part of your travels!
She’d been staying at the hostel I was working for for a coupe weeks but I’d never really chatted to her. When I finally did during the drunken chaos of carnavale we really hit it off and started dating. We’ve been together a year now and having her in my life has changed my travel plans heaps. Instead of being in NZ by the end of last year I stayed in Asia longer so she could come visit and then ended up spending over a month in Switzerland! And being based in Switzerland allowed me to fly over to surf in Morocco, where I landed another surf coaching gig!
I’ve already made plans to head back to Switzerland and get to grips with snowboarding next winter, where I also intend to work for a few months to get some more money behind me!
One Swiss girl has meant 5 plane journeys more than I planned for, being over 10,000 miles away from my intended destination and adding an extra 2 countries to my list of destinations…but I couldn’t be happier ”
Flora, storyteller at Flora the Explorer, shares an encounter from her travels in India:
“We were in the city of Jaisalmer, in the tourist filled heart of Rajasthan, India, and I was eating breakfast with my friends on the terrace of a little cafe overlooking a shaded square. When it was time for us to order, the elderly Indian couple sitting just inside the cafe’s doors put down their food and came over to our table. Within a few minutes we knew everything about Jake, the owner; his stint in the Peace Corps, his marriage to an Australian woman, his suicide attempt and his eventual second wedding, this time to an Indian widow who lived in Jaisalmer. The widow, his wife, smiled at us and fussed with our menus, batting Jake out of the way.
When our meal was over, Jake appeared at our table once more. He’d mentioned how much he loved old Bollywood movies, particularly the classic song and dance sequences. Which is how I ended up sitting in a cupboard converted into a home cinema, watching black and white snippets of Indian films from the 1940s while Jake cried silently at how beautiful it was.”
Jodi from Legal Nomads shows how inspirational even the briefest encounter can be when she got talking to a West African woman on a flight. After sharing snippets of her life with Jodi, she revealed this:
“I will take my children to far away places so they understand how hard it was to get them here, but also so that they love what they have, and what they have not yet seen.”
Thanks so much to everyone who took part – there will be more encounter stories coming up soon.
Have you had an encounter whilst travelling that has impacted you? Let us know in the comments!
(NB: – All images supplied by the bloggers themselves)