This one goes out to all of the Guardian Angels out there. If I didn’t believe in them before, travel has changed that for good. Looking back to the beginning of my journey in June when I only planned to be abroad for 2 months, so much has changed. Throughout my travels, guardian angels have emerged to guide me along the way, step by step, and literally steer me to where I am sitting now.
Sometimes when I meet one of these Angels, I am aware that it is happening in the moment. Other times, it becomes more clear to me in hindsight. Sometimes my luck or the coincidence surrounding these chance meetings just seems downright uncanny.
Right before Thanksgiving, I was preparing to set off from my volunteer experience in Bali and continue up through Southeast Asia on my own. I spent a weekend exploring the Gili Islands with friends and had one night with a room to myself since my friends were departing a day earlier. I had a weird encounter with the guy who ran my homestay – he suggested he accompany me for the night (EwEWGROSS. The smirk on his face made me cringe. And he had a key to all the rooms…) For the first time since leaving home, I felt the creepy crawlies up my spine.
This left me ungldued and feeling vulnerable. I was aware of being a ‘solo female traveller,’ which thus far I’ve loved, and considered how best to proceed. Before I knew what hit me, I’d run into Rob. Literally. He was wearing a crazy Cat tee shirt and flamingo pants and I stopped him because I wanted a photo of him. And we ended up traveling together for over a month through West Papua, Java, Singapore and much of Malaysia.
Rob, the marine from Charleston, SC, who served two tours in Iraq and wears a Purple Heart. The fireman and policeman who spent years heading up the D.C. gang unit. The crazy Captain America who must be in 1000 family photos across SE Asia (at their request). You were my guard dog and 500 words can’t do justice to my gratitude.
Considering all of the wonderful people who have touched my life in big and small ways during the past six months, there are too many to count. However, here I will do my best to offer a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has fallen into my life, swooped in Angel-style, and helped me forward.
This is for Marcin, who took me under his wing when I needed it most and hitch-hiked with me through Western Australia. Greg Griot and Agathe, who toured New Zealand with me. Greg Clemmer who possibly knew me better than I knew myself.
Melinda, who lit the way. Holly Marsden for igniting my fire. Emily Alice Garside for getting me through Sue’s alive. Koral Kaplan for passing the torch.
Steven and Debbie McAdams, each and every person from Yayasan Widya Sari, Rebecca from Penang.
Angels, Thank you.