my mission was simple: before i turn 30, i will travel with a group of strangers and actually talk with them. when i formulated this item for my before 30 list, i was imagining a really small group–say with five to 10 other people–wherein the likelihood of socializing with each other would be high.
i have been meaning to see calaguas since 2010 but the plan never pushed through partly because a trip to this island seemed more fun with a group of people than my usual twosome travels with kim. we almost signed up for a group tour via multiply last year but just the thought of going with a bunch of strangers made me feel uncomfortable.
after three years of thinking it over, i finally decided to travel beyond my comfort zone and signed up for travel factor‘s beach bumming calaguas (plus surfvivor bagasbas) trip last weekend. i initially registered with kim and my research sibling, ana, and then my friend from my previous work, leng, joined later. it helped that: (1) an officemate of mine recently went to calaguas and shared that diy trips to the island is discouraged; (2) knowing that ana joined a group trip, also with tf, early this year somewhat assured me that traveling with strangers can be fun; and (3) my husband was very supportive of trying this travel with strangers thing.
but guess how many people there were in our group? more than 50. most also came with their friends so i figured it would be hard to pinpoint which strangers to approach and mingle with. that is why i was already feeling accomplished when a busmate started chatting with me during our transfer ride from the bus terminal in daet to the jump-off point to calaguas. i exchanged some friendly conversations with a few others throughout the trip. but alas, i did not get their names, haha!
luckily, we met these two girls, jacque and roxanne, on our side trip to bagasbas. this time, we addressed each other by names. we talked about our travels, became facebook friends, took a ton of photos, shared two meals together, played with the waves, and laughed a lot–all within just five hours.
the fun thing was that i really didn’t try so hard to make friends in this trip for the sole purpose of ticking off an item from my list. it was like the universe meant for me to meet these people and be reminded that we are never too old for new friends. remember that playground where you met all your kindergarten friends? it is the whole world now. there are too many people out there–good souls you have yet to meet who may be fellow adventurers for a day, if not future travel buddies or who knows, maybe lifelong friends.
to more travels and friends, y’all!