It's Christmas Eve here in Bangkok, and it feels strange to be in the cloying warmth, without the snow and serious frostbite, and without my family. Traveling rarely leaves me feeling empty inside, partly because the euphoria of my collective experiences carries me above any fleeting loneliness, and partly because I've had the pleasure of meeting some astonishing people along the way. Two things have remained constant within the sandbox of my long-term travels: the moment I become complacent is the moment the carpet gets pulled out from under my feet, and I manage to stumble across the same people in completely different, seemingly unrelated places. The exciting foods, the divergent cultures, the myriad of transportation stories, the colourful locals: these all differ from place to place. But the complacency factor and drenched-in-destiny smallness of the universe have both remained immutable.

During my months in South America, I was amazed at how I kept running into the same people while traipsing through new countries. Granted, there is a fairly entrenched 'backpacker circuit' etched into the continent, but I was zigzagging around haphazardly and yet still bumped into familiar faces, time and time again. The culmination of my backpackery astonishment came when the door to my hostel in Valparaiso, Chile opened at midnight, and in walked two guys I had met 3 countries and 6 weeks ago. Needless to say, jaws dropped.

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  • Jodi Ettenberg

    Born in Montreal, Canada, Jodi Ettenberg is a former new media and technology lawyer who quit her job after 5+ years of working…

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