On the drive to the airport in Bagan, Burma this morning … I shared a cab with another guest at my hotel by the name of Joel. As we travelled we spoke of all the places we had visited in the world. At the tail end of the conversation, as we we approached the airport terminal, I mentioned my global journey started in Antarctica. He looked at me wide eyed and asked ” what ship?”
” The Expedition” was my reply.
Joel’s next statement floored me as he proclaimed… “I was on the MS Expedition in January!”
We were both in disbelief.
In the terminal building and through our flight together we shared stories about our experiences in the frozen continent and especially the crew we travelled with. We had many of the same crew in our respective expeditions. Joel was in his early 60’s and looked like he was 40. I believe his passion for travel is precisely what keeps him young. We were kindred spirits to be sure and I am still in awe that we both experienced Antarctica this year (and on the same ship) but months apart. Here we were, two random strangers, sitting on a plane together over Myanmar, giggling at our pictures of crew members on board the MS Expedition.
There are 7 billion people on the planet. Many could not get to Antarctica if they wanted to. Only a few in all human history have visited this frozen place. There are a limited number of ships and sailings every year. What are the chances we would meet each other in Burma?
In the 21st century two souls met who had a deep connection to the same place and the same vessel as well as the crew. There is a generational divide between the two of us yet we are the same creatures of travel and exploration in the modern world. It was a random and chance meeting and demonstrated how vast our planet is and yet how impossibly small!