“STOP THE BUS! That girl stole my shoes!”
The bus driver lurched to a stop and I dashed down the stairs. I ran over to the shoe thief and after an animated conversation and a deer-in-headlights blank gaze, the girl took the shoes off her feet and gave them to me. Shoes: check.
We had stayed in the same hostel room in Galway, Ireland two nights prior. When I woke up the 2nd morning, my shoes were gone. I had considered them a loss until I was riding a 4-hour bus ride across Ireland to Dublin. The bus stopped every 5 minutes it seemed. At a tiny stop in the smack dab center of Ireland, I happened to gaze out the window to see my pink pumas walking down the street. I recognized the girl wearing my shoes from the hostel. After I left her dazed wearing only socks in the middle of the street, I began to think about how strange it was that we happened to cross paths in this tiny Irish town at that very moment when she was crossing the street, when we had left Galway hours apart headed to different destinations.
Earlier that week at the Cliffs of Moher, I ran into two men I had met months before in Greece. I happened to run into an old friend in Rome I had no idea was traveling there just weeks before. My friend began to date a man who she saw on a train once in Italy, who she somehow ran into again in Salzburg months later.
It seems that the more you travel, the smaller the world becomes.
How do the stars align in such a way that these strange, unlikely coincidences occur? Is it meant to be that I found my shoes? Are these serendipitous moments omens from the universe that we are supposed to form relationships with the people we see again and again?
Next year as I’m galavanting through Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, I can only imagine the sweet serendipity that will find me there. Bring it on, universe.