A travel connection unlike any other

I’ve definitely made some incredible connections with people in my life – but why is it that a travel connection seems so much deeper? Of my travel connections, there were some which were all but forgotten shortly after, like that guy who operates the Hookah shop in a back alley in Luxor. On the other side of the spectrum, there were other travel connections which will last a lifetime, like one made during my most recent travels through Thailand and Borneo with fellow travel blogger Anthony Middleton (pictured below with another great travel blogger and friend, James T. Clark).

Chiang Mai, Thailand - Songrkan travel connections

Travel Bloggers vs Chiang Mai, Thailand’s Songkran Festival

Kuching, Borneo - Semenggoh Rehabilitation Centre

Checking out Orangutans in the wild with Anthony (of Man vs Clock) in Borneo

However, without taking away from any of the other special and life changing travel connections I’ve made, I’d have to say my most meaningful travel connection was actually with someone I already knew. Having worked in the travel industry with an adventure travel tour operator for 6 years came with some perks – the best of which was the annual discounted tour, anywhere in the world they operated. In speaking with a work colleague, Miss Erin Schildermans, we both expressed an interest in travelling to Antarctica around the same time. We figured it would be nice to share such a unique experience with someone we know, and so why not try travelling together. We were good enough acquaintances at the time to be considered friends, though most of our associating happened down at the local watering hole and hadn’t yet ventured much deeper than that.

Ngorogoro Crater, Tanzania - We made it!

Ngorogoro Crater, Tanzania – A wildlife lover’s paradise!

Our dream trip was in the final stages of being approved and confirmed when a tragic accident actually caused the vessel to sink after hitting an ice burg. Once assessing the situation and knowing that all passengers were safe, it began to sink in that our possibilities of doing such a unique voyage lay 20 leagues below the sea along with the ship that was intended to take us there. In a frantic last minute scramble, we asked each other where the other had intended to travel next. We both then realized that travelling around eastern Africa was actually a common goal and desire. With some last minute arrangements, less than a month later we took off on what would be a life changing experience for both of us, making our travel connection that much stronger.
Netherlands, Amsterdam - Cone Fries

Eating Cone-Fries in Amsterdam!

Two long flights with 8-12 hour layovers (at least they were in Amsterdam and Johannesburg) , 90+ hours of driving 12 hour days, and 3 weeks in a tent will either make two people want to kill each other, or will make them better friends than ever before. Fortunately for Erin and myself, it was the latter. After surviving this crucial test, we became travelling buddies, and decided to take all of our annual trips together, in addition to several other independent ones as well.
Peace from Takayama, Japan

Peace from Takayama, Japan

Nikko, Japan - prayers in a samurai temple

Prayers in a samurai temple in Nikko, Japan

Kamakura Japan - Mystic temple Jump Shot

Mystic Temple (necessary) Jump Shot in Kamakura, Japan!

Together, we’ve now conquered 6 continents together, including Antarctica. Oceania is our last stop on our world domination tour together, though we’ve both been there independently, thus knocking it down a few notches on our to-do lists. This is a feat I’d say few have accomplished in their lifetime, let alone being able to do so with the same person.It’s an incredibly powerful travel connection for both of us!
Buenos Aires, Argentina - Taking it in

Taking it all in – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Tierra del Fuego National Park, Argentina

Three Amigos in the Southern most National Park in the World! Tierra del Fuego!

Having seen each other at our best… and worst (oh the stories I’m leaving out – maybe save them for another blog entry), we’ve been through a lot together. This of course means that all those other “connections” one thinks of with the act of travelling, we’ve both shared. Facebook would tell you we have the most “Common Friends” and travel connections out of any other – I could have told you that without a doubt in my mind. Perhaps unexpectedly at first, Erin has become the Pinky to my Brain (I know I’ll get punched for that one – it’s probably the other way around), a best friend through thick and thin, and as close to a sister as I’ll ever know.
Antarctica - Erin and Ian

WE MADE IT! Antarctica zodiac cruisin’!!

Port Lockroy, Antarctica

The “Ice Pirates” makin it to Port Lockroy, Antractica

I’m curious to think where our friendship would be now had we not taken the leap of faith in travelling together all those years ago – all that matters is that it did happen, and this travel connection was able to be made. For that I’m grateful.
White Temple, Chiang Rai

The bizarre and incredible White Temple in Chiang Rai, Thailand

Temples in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Exploring the temples of Northern Thailand

Do you have any stories of your favourite travel connection? Was your favourite travel connection with a person or a place itself? What do you think defines a powerful travel connection? Please share in the comment section below!