Not long ago, I backpacked through South America with my best friend. Little did we know that this adventure would direct our futures later on. I could think on hundreds of stories from this journey to tell you but I have chosen this one, the closest one to my heart.
During our trip we made many temporary friendships, especially since we didn’t have enough time to stay for long on every place we visited. We met people from all over the world including east Europe, United States, south America, Australia and more.
We had heard stereotypes of many people from different countries. Some were positive ones which seemed to be true and negatives one seemed to not apply at all. During our trip we always felt somewhat homesick at times. We missed our families, warm homemade meals and the comfort of a hot shower and comfy bed. However, we loved the adventure we had every day, the long hikes and crossing an island with new people we would meet on our path. We also loved the journeys in trucks hearing all their life stories and more.
We were in La Paz, Bolivia in a hostel full of backpackers from all around the world. The hostel was built in a very antique colonial house. All its interior design was kept as its original in the colonial times but greatly added to the travellers atmosphere.
We built so many friendships on every place we had been before but on this place it was different. We made a new family. Now one of the best parts was when we stayed for two weeks in La Paz, due to some paperwork I had to do to cross the border to Argentina. This was the first time we stayed this long in one place and with mostly Israeli roommates.
Unfortunately when I arrived to La Paz I felt sick with a very bad cough. I could have waken up the Pope all the way to Rome with how loud my cough was. I felt bad that I was keeping awake everyone at our dorm. However, they never complained about it, instead they became my doctors, my older brothers or even like a father to me.
They brought me medicine without even knowing my name yet. They sat next to me and kept me company when my friend had to leave. They watched over us at all times, inside and outside the hostel. They became a group of very protective older brothers. So we became like family, Ecuadorians, Israelis, Dutch and other nationalities.
Some of them had travelled together for some time already and others just met for the first time in the hostel. Every time they ran into an Israeli they greeted him like seeing their best friend.
This was something we didn’t see happening with people from other countries, some even tried to avoid being recognized by them, French from other French, or Italians from other Italians, and yeah even Ecuadorians like us from our own people, usually because of stereotypes we hold over ourselves.
Anyway, after the most difficult goodbyes we had to say on this trip, we left the hostel and continued our trip South while our friends were heading North. I can still feel the taste of the last Turkish coffee we shared on the rooftop of the hostel and feel the last hugs, the kind of hugs that you don’t really want to let go off.
A big part of us knew this may be the last time we see each other. After all we were all gonna go back home at some point and that meant to be continents away. On our first chance we had to get online again we saw many messages from many of them asking about my health and about our trip. They asked if we were safe more times than probably my real blood sister did.
We returned home and we heard from them that they were still travelling and they were in Colombia. Many of them already split up and went further on and many stayed together. Three of our new friends decided to make a detour and come to our country to visit us. For only three days we had the joy to show them our beautiful country and people. After this, we stayed in touch and eventually all of this drove my future to Israel where I reside now.
This specific part of my trip taught me that it didn’t matter where we came from. It matter where we were and where we were going. We saw each other pass the negative stereotypes, we saw the humanity, kindness and a good heart all of us have. We were strangers once but soon we became like family.
- I will never forget that moment that I was sur e there are good and kind people among every single corner in this world. We must never judge or generalize what we don’t know. We are all humans, we are all brothers and sisters. We are all a family of strangers. And if we open our eyes, any moment in our life could be the biggest changing life moment for us.