Memorable encounters

With everything that is going on in the world recently and all travels being postponed one has no choice but to cherish the memories of better times as you flip through your holiday pictures.

I knew I wanted to use this time to create something and occupy my mind but I was not sure which direction should I go into. So I decided to ask my Instagram followers for advice as to what should my next post be about.

Met the inspiration behind this post:

Lovely, kind beautiful inside out Tanja from Montenegro. We have never met in person (yet!) but instantly clicked online over our mutual love for nature and sarcasm. Please feel free to check out her profile @tatjanatp.

And this was her request:

So here are 10 most memorable encounters I happen to cross paths with on my travels and hikes. The order is totally random and I will let you decide which one should take the trophy. You can let me know in the comments below:)

1. BULGARIA.

Back in 2017 I visited Bulgaria for the first time. It was a long May bank holiday weekend so perfect opportunity for a mini break. It only has been few months since I started hiking and I didn’t even have a proper GPS on me. Always learning by trail and error 😕 which sometimes works and sometimes does not.

The trail starts basically at the doors step of my apartment but I had been socialising the night before and only had 4 hours of sleep. I reached Boyansko Ezero without any troubles but after that my map is not very clear as to which way I need to decent. I notice a guy with a backpack sitting at the edge of the lake having a snack. I decide he looks experienced so he will know the way. He does indeed and shows me directions but then asks if I would like to join him as he is heading towards the waterfall. What I did next surprised even me. I ask: “how can I be sure you will not kill me?”. Now I don’t even know what is a normal reaction to this question or how would a serial killer answer it to be honest.

Well he is taken aback but then starts laughing and says: “ok, let me prove it to you that I do not have bad intentions” and proceeds to take out his phone and shows me some of the pictures.

“Would a serial killer have a pink car? Or a baby duck pictures?”he asks. “I mean frankly I wouldn’t know. “ I say. He then says that it is ok if I do not trust him and don’t want to join him for a hike which obviously makes me feel like an asshole. And I do want to see the waterfall. We set off together on our uphill journey I quickly regret agreeing to. He never stops talking whilst I can barely breathe… During that 40 minute hike that feels like eternity I learn that he speaks 8 languages (supposedly as I never fact check him on that), opened up his own prosperous coffee business in Thailand and is now hiking his way home to Hungary. He also tells me that I waste my life working 40 hours a week and I should at least strive to have a family. When we finally get to the top he ask if I can take a picture of him by the waterfall but just one. No matter if it’s good or bad. Apparently it’s a bad omen to take more than one. I snap 5, hand him his phone and say goodbye.

2. ITALY, ANCONA.

This was during a short weekend away in October when you could buy a return plane ticket for £20. Destination did not matter much as long as there were decent hikes around. Ancona with its sea side location and mild weather was perfect. Plus it is Italy so how can you not go? Worse case scenario you will always have a good pizza and pasta:)

My flights are usually very early in the morning so I can make the most of my trip. After dropping off my bag at the hotel and sorting out the formalities, I am on my way to a park in San Pietro region. The weather is gorgeous, blue skies, sun shining. I pass a small cemetery and make my way down towards a beach. There are few view points along the way so of course I stop and check out the views. Park is almost empty except for a guy wearing all black and talking in his phone. He walks in my direction and as he passes bye he says “hello”. I found it very annoying that he didn’t say it to my face but waited till he was behind me. I turned back to check if maybe it was to the person on the phone but he already put the mobile in his pocket and made a 180° turn and started walking towards me. “Oh ffs, here we go again” I think to myself and a panic swipes over me. “Excuse me do you have the time? My phone just died” and he tries to show me the phone. The screen is black but I can tell he is lying. I tell him the time as politely as I can and slowly start heading towards the beach. He smiles and asks where I am from to which I do not reply as not to encourage him. I pretend I didn’t hear him and speed up my pace. He stands in one spot for few moments watching me but luckily does not follow up.

I know that this my seem like an ordinary encounter but there was something about him that set my gut alarm off. I learnt to never ignore that feeling.

3. ENGLAND.

A while back I dreamt about having my own hiking group so I joined MeetUp.

There are at least thousands of hiking groups so I knew it may take time to build up a following. I posted the route, date and time of the meeting. I had two people responding:one woman and one a guy. Unfortunately the lady cancelled at the last minute but the guy appeared rather enthusiastic. He kept messaging me on the app checking if I haven’t changed my mind etc. I thought nothing much of it.

The hike date came and I was heading to Tring where we supposed to meet up. Between you and me I was hoping he will not show up so I was disappointed when he was already waiting at the platform.

As always his pic was very old so naturally he was older in person but fairly fit. He let me lead the way even tho he knew this area quite well himself. When we got to the view point he asked if he can take a picture of me. I was like “why? You want picture together?”. “No, no. Just you”. Ok… rest of the hike was rather uneventful but he sent me a message to express his thanks that showed off his ugly side. Right at the bottom of the message was “you have a very sexy body”. I pretended I did not see it and hoped this will be the end of it. He sent me like 3 more messages and every single one of them has a reference to my appearance…

We met for one more hike and he was a decent human during it. Then I’ve left the country for 7 months and we would exchange stories about our hikes. By then he started following me on Instagram and would always comment on my pics. The final straw came when I posted a selfie on my stories and announced I am taking a break from social media. He messaged me privately and inquired if my huge smile has something to do with meeting a guy. I told him even if that was the reason then certainly it was not his business. He was rather upset and finally unfollowed me shortly after.

Here are some of the messages:

And here is where I lost it:

4. KYRGYZSTAN.

Whilst travelling through Central Asia I would use Couchsurfing to socialise with other travellers. On one of those events I met a Brazilian guy, well travelled and very funny. We have done a trip to a local historic side together but mostly we hanged out in the evenings. He was the typical social animal as most Aries are.

During one for those long session hang outs we discussed different reasons for travelling and someone mentioned that guys usually travel to get laid. It was me, the Brazilian guy, a girl from America and another guy from Ireland. As a joke I presented a meme with the map of the world coloured according to the size of men private parts, and said that this is why I travel. Of course they all wanted a copy of the picture and the guys wanted to verify the data so the subject of body count came up. The Brazilian guy said he slept with 136 women and of course the table is very silent for a second. But then he drops even bigger bombshell: he has a spreadsheet where he keeps track of all the nationalities he already tapped. Of course I needed to see it and I can verify he does in fact have it.

I kept asking him when his warranty for his male parts runs out:)and even wanted to propose a bet that he will hit 200 by the end of the year (we met in July). I do not have any updates:)

5. KAZAKHSTAN

On my 14hr train journey from Almaty to Tashkent I was sharing a coach with a girl from Japan. It was an overnight journey so we each had our own bed. I had one lower bed and the Japanese girl settled on the opposite side one.

When it was time to ditch the lights off, she went to the bathroom and put pyjamas on which I wasn’t expecting but maybe that’s how she gets comfortable? What buffers me most is that she hang her pants on the seat. In plain sight. Why???? If anyone has an explanation for it please feel free to share it with me:)

6. KYRGYZSTAN.

During my two months where I was staying in a local guest house and volunteer at a school, I met about 20 travellers from all paths of life.

One of them was a doctor from Chile who collects…knives…

7. KYRGYZSTAN

During my first month in Kyrgyzstan I met a very friendly polish couple. We were all staying at the same yurt camps so we always saw each other during meals. They would made sure I seat between them. Every time. The husband wanted a picture with me….just me and him and no wife. They were also hogging the sauna constantly which was mildly irritating. One day after a particular long hike I wanted to shower but was told the couple is using the sauna (shower and sauna were in the same tent). I am annoyed so the husband suggests that I shower whilst they are in the sauna. They do not mind. Also there is a door separating both, but you need to pass through the shower area to exit the tent. No exit directly from sauna. I accept the offer and head for my shower and hoping I can be quick enough. I was about to rinse myself when I hear : “we are too hot, can we please go out? We will close our eyes”. I quickly turn the shower off and cover myself with a towel. “Ok”. They step outside the tent and I finish dressing myself. When outside the wife makes a remark:” we haven’t seen anything we have not seen before” whilst the husband looks directly into my eyes.

8. TAJIKISTAN

To be able to start my journey on the Pamir Highway I had to travel from Samarkand to Dushanbe. It is a 5hrs taxi journey through mountains. The driver asks of course if I am married. I reply “I’m a widow”thinking there will be no questions after that as a sign of respect. Wrong. He asks what happened to my husband….like what!? I was not prepared for that…so the first thing that pops in my mind is car crash. I really hope this is over but when we stop for a break the driver joins me outside and starts yelling at me but I can not understand most of it. Maybe it’s for the best.

You have no idea how much I wanted to push him off that cliff. He wanted to hold my hand for the pic but I pushed him away.

9. This fact was reminded to me by Tanja as I shared all my crazy encounters with her as I went along on my journey. I met a girl who travelled the world as her goal was to sleep with a men from every single country. I know, she should have teamed up with the Brazilian guy:)

10. An Irish couple who were both teachers, lived together and travelled together so naturally I was curious as to how long they were together. “We aren’t a couple. Just friends”.

Have you got a memorable encounter or a crazy story to share? Feel free to post it in the comment section.

Obviously I am also wondering how many crazy encounters involve a story about me:)

Stay safe and keep exploring. If not foreign lands then maybe your own limits:)

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