November 28, 2012 - Posted by Erin in Spain, Travel, Travels in Asia, Travels in Europe, Travels in Spain, Trips to the US

Sometimes you meet a soul friend — a person that, with very few words or encounters, you just feel like you’ve known for a lifetime. My friend Candace is one of those people.

It might seem like a cheesy term, I suppose — soul friend — but there’s really no better way to describe our friendship. We first met two years ago at a travel-blogging conference in Copenhagen. Both feeling somewhat out of our element, we formed an instant bond over the spontaneity of chasing down a horse-drawn carriage that was delivering the season’s Christmas beer. Sporting illuminated blue Santa caps, we toyed with the idea of a future get-together (Spain, perhaps?) but, like most chance meetings, she could have very well just ended up being one of many Facebook friends that I “met that one time when I was traveling.”

That wouldn’t be the case for us, though. A year and a half and several sporadic emails later, and Candace messaged me to say she was finally thinking about coming to Spain. Not just to visit, though, but to do the Camino de Santiago.

Hmmm, I thought, the Camino.

The idea danced in my head, both tempting and terrifying me. I didn’t have any gear, I’m not a backpacker (far from it), and I barely knew Candace. But the time was right and the Camino called.

So I went, and I had one of the most moving experiences of my life. We stayed in grungy albergues (hostels along the Camino), ran through frigid poring rain, and lamented over gnarly foot injuries. We cried, we laughed, we complained, and we covered not only ground, but probably every discussable subject possible. We saw magic on that trip in the people we met, in the pain (both physical and emotional), and in the triumph of powering through it all to arrive at our destination.

And then Candace was off again, to the States and then to India (her new home, if you can believe it). “Yes, yes, I will see you in India,” I said with the same certainty as our first conversation in Denmark, aware that only time would tell when or how our paths would cross next.

Indeed, our next chance encounter wouldn’t be in India, but instead in San Francisco. My flight was already booked home last summer when Candace told me she would be in the North Bay for a writing conference. “Will you be there? Would you like to come?” she asked on the off chance I’d be around and interested. My answer was a resounding “yes” (or more like: “You’re what?!!!? When??!! Yes!!!!!).

Even better, with the event taking place in a tiny town, she not only needed transport, but a place to stay. So for several days, we held slumber parties at my friend’s house in San Francisco, and commuted each morning through the ethereal fog engulfing the Golden Gate. Once again we saw magic: magic in the conference, magic in spending time together in a third country (our country!), and magic in the serendipity of it all.

But alas, this trip too would end with no guarantee of when our worlds would intersect once more. Again, I vowed that I’d come visit her in India, knowing that logistically many stars would have to align (those stars being my budget, timing, and more of my budget).

Of course those stars lined up just like Orion’s belt. Not only would Candace be free in November, as would I — perhaps the very best time of year to visit India — but I was able to buy a plane ticket with miles! In fact, my whole trip to India would cost me a sum total of roughly $400 (flight, visa, food, souvenirs and (free) lodging). The travel and friendship gods must have really been smiling down on us, especially since silly me didn’t realize I needed a visa until just nine business days before the trip, when it was supposed to take ten days to process; it only took seven.

And off to India I went, where our next adventure would begin.

When Candace and I parted at the airport last Friday, we embraced, knowing that even though we have no idea when we’ll see each other next, that it will happen, and there will be magic.

Thank you, Hammie Hamster, for another amazing journey!


8 Responses to “Magic and soul friends”

  1. Laura Says:

    Love this! I look forward to reading more about your adventures together.

  2. Cat of Sunshine and Siestas Says:

    Lauren Aloise has always been one of these people for me, and I thought her getting married would mean we’d never travel again together (much as I love Ale!). We’ve been able to find time for one another, and I’m happy you’ve found a friend like that in Candace. Love both of your writing!!

  3. Kara Says:

    Love this Erin! Friendships formed through travel are so special. I can’t wait to read more about India… and perhaps hear about it when I stop in Madrid at the end of March!

  4. Candace Says:

    Oh Hammie, I am at a loss for words. How can I thank you for this beautiful post, and for our beautiful friendship? It has spanned three continents and counting 🙂 It has truly been such an adventure watching our paths cross around the world, and I love each new layer added to our friendship from each journey. Here’s to 2013 and wherever next year takes us!

  5. Erin Says:

    Love you guys!

    @Cat – do you ever make it to Madrid? Hope I’ll meet you in person one of these days!

    @Kara – you know as well as anyone what a magical experience the Camino can be. Sure hope I’ll see you in March!

  6. Madaboutravel Says:

    Great post Erin! I didn’t believe in this kind of magic until 4 years ago, when I met my viennese friend Isabella in a youth hostel in Niagara. We both we’re travelling alone and we just shared a day and a half there but it was enough to forge a friendship that’s taken us to lots of places together. She’s the best travel companion I could have ever wished for and even if we don’t know when we’ll see each other, we know that’s gonna happen (and when it does, it’s as if time hadn’t passed).

    Once again, thanks for posting 😉

  7. Erin Says:

    Thanks for your kind words! We’re both lucky to have met such special people on our travels :).

  8. Daphne Says:

    Seems so happy and contented with the photos. I really love those smiles Erin..I am one of the Barcelona lovers. I am fascinated by the city and have been twice so far and can not wait to go again. On the other hand the first time I went to Madrid I did not like it at all. I have since been back to Madrid two more times and really like it now.. I really can not get enough of Spain.

    P.S : Post more adventure, look forward to it.

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