Australia’s a big place. There’s no denying it really. It even has bits that are relatively unexplored although that’s probably more to do with the fact that it’s very easy to die when you stray away from the coast, probably why most travelers don’t.
It’s precisely this fact that means that although you might be thousands of miles from home it’s pretty usual to find a familiar face along the way. Here are my weirdest encounters:
- My little sister and I lived in Townsville for a while and made a particular cocktail bar our go to place on nights out, partly because of the quality of the drinks and partly because of the quality of the bar tenders. Ahem. Not exactly a wallflower, when my sister heard the accent of the guy making her cocktails one evening she asked him where he was from. It turned out that he was from our home town and had been best mates for years with a group of guys we both used to work with. Weird.
- When I worked for Wicked travel it was customary to call other staff in other shops around Australia to pass the time in between ripping off unsuspecting backpackers. One night I ended up talking to a chap in the Byron store called Mark. Turns out we grew up five minutes from each other and each worked in the others favourite pub meaning we had definitely served each other before. We also had loads of mates in common, including two people who we’d both had minor dalliances with before they’d got together. Sharing is caring guys!
- One night I was at work booking a tour for two people. Nothing strange there, but what was freaking me out was how intently the guy was staring at me as I typed up his voucher. “hang on!”, suddenly he became animated, “you’re Natasha Beckett’s big sister aren’t you?!” Yep, he’d been two years below me at school and had had a hard time placing me without my head girl badge on.
- After I’d done my second skydive I was just as high on life as the first time around. Bounding out of the skydive shop ready for an Australia Day beer I almost ran in to a familiar looking girl… Turns out a girl called Jess that had been in a few plays with me at Uni had been on the beach watching when I landed by complete coincidence. I’d been so blindsided by my plane-jumping efforts that I’d totally blanked her! Awkward…
- There’s a hairdressing school in Townsville that I used to frequent for trims when I visited Mum, risking a slightly dodgy fringe for the price of a $10 cut. One day I felt certain that there was a girl I recognised, but I just couldn’t place where from. I put it down to a drunken chat in nightclub toilets or a guest of the mission hostel i was working in. I stared at her and she stared right back until it clicked. She’d been best friends with my sister and a regular fixture at our dinner table aged 10-13 before they drifted apart upon hitting their teens and was in Townsville to brush up on her existing hairdressing skills to help her find a job to fund her travels!
And now for the weirdest one…
- My step-family are from a place just outside of Glasgow, which means every Scottish person from around there is subjected to a “do you know….?”. of course this never, ever usually presented me with connections because Scotland has a large population. Until I met a Scottish lass in a hostel kitchen from the same town as my family and…well…it turned out she’d been out with my step brother for about 6 months and had even met my Dad on more than one occasion. She was drinking a glass of red as she cooked her dinner and told me that she’d hated the stuff until she had a good chat with my Dad about wine and now she was a convert. Yeah, that one freaked me out a bit.
So what do we learn from this?
You can run but you can never hide…
…or just that the world is a much smaller place than you might think.