It’s crazy how small the world can be. Especially when you are traveling with an open mind and meeting as many people as possible. This past week and a half I traveled with four other exchange students to the East Coast of Australia during our time off from Curtin University. On the first plane ride from Perth to Cairns, I sat next to a girl that looked about the same age as me and we got talking. It turns out she attends University of Guelph in Canada, the same university that the two guys who were on my trip attend. What a small world. We ended up spending some time with her in Cairns, exploring the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. After those few days in Cairns, we departed ways with our new friend and flew to Brisbane.
While in Brisbane, we were able to explore the city as well as nearby areas such as Noosa, Byron Bay and the Gold Coast. While on a hike through the Glass Mountains, we passed by a group of people headed down the trail. I took a double take and saw a woman wearing an Ohio State t-shirt. “OH” I shouted and of course she replied with an “IO” and a big grin. Even though that was such a short moment, there was a part of me that felt like I was back at home.
After a bit of a drive, we made it to Sydney. We were able to meet so many people who had been traveling around the world for months, sharing stories of their adventures. I found it amazing how so many people travel to places alone and just meet people as they go. All the travelers we met had such open mindsets, making them people we wanted to spend time with. So we spent a lot of time with them and one day while hiking along the coast from Coogee Beach to Bondi Beach, an older gentleman stopped my friend from New York because of her shirt. Turns out he had attended the same university as her, New Paltz. We learned from him that he has lived in Sydney for quite a few years now, but was a born and raised New Yorker. What a small world.
Finally, towards the end of our trip, we flew to Melbourne. It happened to be Kings Day, which is a Dutch holiday and the last girl traveling in my group was Dutch. That evening, after exploring the city, we attended a Dutch festival to celebrate the holiday that was so important to her and her culture. I spent my night trying all kinds of Dutch food and meeting spirited people who were happy to talk about their Dutch traditions.
By the end of our week an a half trip on the East Coast of Australia, myself (from Ohio), my friends Mitch and Nick (both from Toronto), my friend Paige (from New York) and my friend Steffi (from Amsterdam) were all able to experience something from each of our home towns. In my time exploring the world and seeing so many new things, I was baffled by how small the world can really be.