Letter From A Distant Friend: Part Three

Synchronicity and Coincidence

Bri Dugan, a former La Mesan, is sharing the story of how her life at Cosmos Coffee Cafe led to world travel and now a life in England. This is her third installment. You can see earlier posts linked below.

ENGLAND -- "Synchronicity is an inexplicable and profoundly meaningful coincidence that stirs the soul and offers a glimpse of one's destiny." 

— Phil Cousineau in Coincidence or Destiny?

A couple weeks into our backpacking trip throughout India. Our group of four girls had been reduced to three early one morning as we arrived in a new city. Carly had traveled with us until we reached Kochi. We hopped off an early 3AM train and took a rickshaw to a quiet end of town where we were told we could find a room for the rest of the morning. When we arrived at the hostel Carly suddenly announced she was going to head back to the train station and travel another few hundred miles to live in an Ashram. We were all very taken aback and I think Carly’s sudden decisiveness to venture off on her own even surprised herself.  She had mentioned her interest in living in an Ashram and studying yoga and Hinduism before we left, but I hadn’t heard much about it in the first couple weeks we traveled together. We were extremely supportive and not entirely surprised because we had all promised each other to pursue our own paths if we felt the call. We parted ways wishing each other amazing adventures and to keep in touch.

The three of us girls continued to putter around southern India aimlessly for another couple weeks before stopping over in Munnar. Munnar is an unbelievably beautiful and lush hill station where they grow most of India’s tea. It had been cold and rainy and on one of these less than optimal mornings I headed out alone to purchase a new toothbrush. An odd encounter with a couple of Indian men using our toilet had led me to the conclusion that a new toothbrush was very much needed. I wandered the tiny town center and after picking up my new (and clean) toothbrush I thought I should head to the Internet café for a quick update on life in the Western world. As I scanned the sea of people looking for a café my eyes met with the only blue-eyed blonde haired boy for miles in any direction. Catching sight of each other we struck up an instantaneous conversation that only two backpackers traveling abroad would understand.

Jonas was from Germany and had been traveling through India for about the same amount of time as us girls. We all had met so many fellow travelers along the way our group was forever expanding and contracting with a great flow of different characters.  Jonas invited our group along to his next destination- a beach on the very southern tip of India. He had met two Englishmen a few weeks previous in the deserts of Rajasthan and was hoping to meet up with them again. Although he hadn’t spoken with them in weeks they had made tentative plans to meet up in Varkala around this time. We liked Jonas and liked the sound of Englishmen even more and having no inclination on where to go next we decided to tag along to Varkala. Although Munnar was beautiful we tired of the rain and cold and our warm Southern California blood yearned for the beach…yet again.

Of course it was raining when we arrived at the beach a couple days later.  The rain was worse than it had been in Munnar. The walk from the rickshaw to the hostel left us thoroughly soaked and our backpacks drenched. We slept the rest of the morning until the rain stopped then decided to find an Internet café and email Carly. We hadn't heard form her since her early morning departure and we had no idea where she actually ended up. We wandered the town for an Internet café and randomly started walking along the beach-side boardwalk. We past up a couple Internet cafes, but wanted to see more of the town so decided on one at the very end of the boardwalk. As we walked in we were stunned into oblivion at the site of the girl in the back of the room. It was long-lost Carly who we hadn't heard from since her departure weeks ago. We had meant to send her an email that day, but she had outdone us with her presence. She had stayed at the Ashram for a while and then decided to restart her travels and was emailing us to let us know where she was. She hadn't meant to end up in Varkala, but a friend of hers from the Ashram had told her it was a nice place to visit. We couldn't believe our luck. Out of the billion people in India and all the millions of places to visit we had all ended up in the same place together.

Later that evening Jonas got a hold of his English friends who had happened to arrive in Varkala the day before. We met up for dinner and our groups hit it off.  Harry and Shawn had been traveling around India and Nepal for over a month. They had both lived in Sydney, Australia for two years and this was a stopover trip before they returned home to England. Harry and I quickly became friends and began spending a lot of time together. During the day our group hung out on the beach, taking walks to the lighthouse and nearby temples while at night we hung out at the beach-side restaurants and ate and drank until early morning. We took nightly walks along the jetty and got to know one another. It’s a strange environment to meet someone in- constantly on the move and never looking (or smelling) like you do at home. All senses feel heightened to new experiences and different personal encounters and you begin to realize you thrive off of the positive energy that other people bring to your reality. For the most part, backpackers are open, friendly and everyone is looking for life enhancing experiences.

Harry and I met on 10/10/10 and spent 10 days together before we parted ways. Both of us had previously bought plane tickets to other locations and it was finally time to say goodbye. We parted ways in Pondicherry and told each other we’d keep in touch. The three of us headed off to the Andaman Islands and Harry and Shawn flew to Sri Lanka. Jonas was headed to Mumbai to catch another flight to Bangkok and it was a tough time to say goodbye. The last 10 days had easily been the best so far and we all hated to see it end.

Over the next month Harry and I kept in touch via email. He had spent some time in Sri Lanka while I lounged on the beach in Andaman. We both enjoyed our long-distance email communications and our relationship grew. Luckily for us, writing to each other came as easily as talking face to face and helped build our relationship from a distance. Little did we know at the time that the long-distance conditions were just the beginning. 

Part One: There's No Place Like Home

Part Two:Like A Rolling Stone

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Tags: Bri Dugan, Cosmos Coffee Cafe, England, India, Letter From A Distant Friend


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