Transit Friends


That is what I call them.

When I moved to Auckland, I had a plan. Live temporarily in this place while I look for a good apartment near my university. Call it my incompetence to get a good apartment near to my university, or the fact that I loved my area so much that I never moved.

I was supposed to get a good place, but I didn’t want to leave a better place either.

The people I met here are a special highlight. Not all of them are great, many like me are introverted. When the conversations start though, they were a unique experience.

They are all travellers. None of them are talking about the money they have, or the wild experiences they had. It’s simple, none are trying to impress anyone.

When I moved in, there were a couple of people living here already. These travellers are way past their studying years and now are making a living on the go. They travel, earn money and then travel some more. The cycle is repeated till I don’t know when, I never asked. They had fascinating tales, even better passports which could very well be out of a travelogue or self help book.

In my first week I met 4 Brits who were staying over for a weekend. Real cool guys, and as luck would have it we shared a room. There was another guy in the same room and he snored. I was jetlagged and couldn’t sleep. The 4 Brits couldn’t sleep because of the snores. We all stayed awake that night talking to one another about how to shut the snoring up, what other ways a corn can be used and my personal favourite was a tale of a lodge they slept one  night and swore never to return to such a place again. I can’t remember laughing like that in a long time.

As it was my first week here, I missed my home food and had bought Indian (expensive) food in desperation. I had no hesitation to share the food.

I met a Japanese girl here. Unlike the other travellers that I keep encountering she had no clue what she was doing, what she wanted to eat and what she wanted to buy. She hung around with me for a couple of days. I am sure she would be cursing me for making her walk from one place to the other simply because I didn’t want to use the more expensive bus. She was fun in her different way. Of all the people that I met here, she is the only one who I befriended on Facebook. And now I don’t text her either.

A very generous bunch of travellers gave me their guitar. We spoke the night they arrived, tired and cranky. Crazy dudes, a quiet girlfriend of one of the guys. Possibly the friendliest bunch ever, I would love to travel with such a group. I closed up all my work as I listened to them talking about Bali, India, Australia. Where to get cheap flights from, where to party hardest and where they found peace: they knew it all. For a first time traveller like me, I can only stare in fascination at their passports with multiple immigration stamps and visas. I was spellbound. The couple were engaged but he wanted his fiancée to travel the world like he did, on her own. He said ‘I want her to experience the things I did. I don’t want her to regret it.’ He didn’t have to tell me that but he did.

They moved to the city a day later, I lost their numbers. I also knew I would never contact them. I am weird that way.

There was a couple from Poland I remember. The guy had an awesome collection of folk music that I forgot to take. They told me where to buy good white wraps from which I substitute as rotis. They told me they were interrogated at the airport when they arrived at Auckland only because they were from Poland. The girl never spoke a word.

In the last month’s Lantern festival, I went alone on the first day and on the last day I oversold the festival and took two Germans and the Japanese girl along. I just didn’t want to go alone I guess. Like everyone else the Germans were travellers too. I kept asking questions about the places they have been to, things they have done.

Not every person is great though. Sometimes I wanted to run out of the room because a roommate looked scary. I maintained my cool. A chinese family snored like tractors in the night and I slept on the couch. I didn’t complain to them when they asked me why did I sleep on the couch. The couch is also very comfortable for me.

A Czech republic girl played the most soothing version of Tears of Heaven in the night. I slept like a baby listening to that tune. A guy never stopped drinking beer.

Days turned to weeks and now it has been a month. I can’t count the number of people I have met. I don’t want to because I would have a number of people that have left the house since I moved in.

I read about this on his blog ‘Into The Mild’ but until now I never realized what he really meant. The worst part about meeting so many people is that they leave. I know the probability of ever meeting them again is extremely slim. Unless I stay at the same place and hope that the Belgian guys decide to come here again or the Japanese girl wants to travel Auckland again.

A house like this is perfect for me: I will not be depended upon anyone. I wanted that, needed it. I don’t want to be at the mercy of other people’s kindness ever again.

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t wish some of these great, funny people I met would live at the home for a little longer. For I can get out of my natural inhibitions and ask for their numbers and contact. And maybe speak to them again.

For now, I can see almost everyone I knew leaving the house this weekend. I can only sit and bid farewell because like them, I am too their in-transit friend.

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