Over the years traveling solo, I’ve met many people who have adopted me either due to my witty personality (haha!) or because they feel bad I am alone. It’s great to meet new travelers to explore with no matter what the reason – I’ve stopped caring about the “why”
At the airport, after meeting up with Paul (tour guide/inn owner), he said we were waiting on a young couple from the U.K. who were on the same flight. I then met Jess and Justin, who were in their late 20’s and traveling for nine months around the world. As we climbed into Paul’s pickup truck we shared small talk before arriving at the inn. Paul asked if he could combine our tours since we were the only ones staying at the inn (it was the end of the tourist season and the current guests were leaving in the morning) and we agreed to share the two 1/2 day tours.
I set my bags in the room and explored Hanga Roa, about ten minutes walk down the dirt road. After the rain, I made my way back to the inn and found them sitting outside playing a game. I told them of the Moai down the road and they suggested we go back to the Moai to see the sunset before dinner. I would learn that they were getting married soon and that the round the world trip was the prelude to the ceremony. Jess was planning the wedding on the road with her family in the U.K. While both were from the U.K., they would meet in Dubai, where each was working – Justin was in oil/gas, Jess was a teacher. Their story was so charming – she didn’t like him on the first meeting at a party, it would be a few parties more before they would date. In talking with them and spending time with them, they were perfect for each other.
At dinner, we realized that we got along pretty well so in addition to sharing the tours with Paul, we agreed to combine our one day car rentals and explore together, which would save them money on a car rental and provide me company and a reason to explore the caves, which I wouldn’t have done on my own. We drove out to see the sunrise – sadly, the clouds and rain kept it dark (we would revisit later in the sun – we needed sunny photos, of course).
We would spend my five days on the island together for meals and tours. At one point, I mentioned that I could go on my own to give them private time and they said that they had been on their own for so long it was nice when they met people along the way to travel with. I would learn later that they collected many travelers during their journey. They would also have two more days on the island after I left.
We would encounter mean dogs barking at us as we turned up the wrong street on the walk home (scary and reminded me of the dogs in Santiago), car windows that needed some funny outside assistance to go up and bumpy roads to navigate around the park sites.
We would climb in caves, up hills and encounter wild horses along the way.
We would attend Sunday mass of local songs and traditions. I would see more tourists at the Sunday service than I did all week combined in town and at the various sites.
We would walk up and down the main street to decipher restaurant menus, diners and whether we thought it was good to eat there.
We would relax at the inn, at the cafes along the waterfront and at Miro, a café across from the cemetery close to Hanga Roa and the Inn.
We would find the ice cream shop that they read about along the waterfront. Justin did a lot of research into the various food options, focusing on dessert (you can see why we got along due to our love of sugar).
We would have a fantastic last night together at the Japanese restaurant chatting with the owner as we were the only diners for much of the night. We would share lots of wine, stories and laughs. It was a dinner with old friends – sharing stories of life, comparing notes on our adventures on the island and discussing the future. After the wedding, Justin was scheduled to go back to his job in Dubai (I wish the US embraced sabbaticals!) with a promotion to open the Mongolia office! Their adventures would continue after marriage. I was thrilled to be adopted by them for my Easter Island adventure as they really made my trip so much better. I was really lucky to have met them for the brief time.
Have you been adopted when traveling? Or have you adopted someone like me, traveling on their own? How did this enrich the trip?