A couple of weeks ago I came back from my Independent Travel with Donna. (A week where we are allowed to go outside Pune). When traveling through a country like India there are bound to be good stories following, here is one of them!
Donna and I had reached the small mountain town Mcleodgangj the night before at 00.30 by bus and were enjoying some omelets after a long needed good sleep, on the rooftop café of our hostel. We came in touch with another traveler in her fifties, who was in India to participate in yoga camps (not an uncommon scenario). As we were talking she mentioned that on top of the mountain where we were located, there was a temple with a beautiful view that we should check out.
Hence after breakfast we started climbing further up the mountainside to reach the temple. After hiking for about an hour through small clusters of houses and getting an additional crew of two dogs, we reached a small plateau (or just a flat area). There were a few cabs there as the road from the centre of mcleogdangj met our path, and a couple of «cafes» (some plastic tables and chairs cover by tarpaulin), situated beautifully with a view over the valley.
One of the cafés seemed slightly less crowded than the other, so we opted for the one with only one other couple of travelers, playing chess at the neighboring table. After I ordered some chai in Hindi, a guy from the other table leaned over and asked if I knew Hindi. After explaining that «knowing Hindi» would be a bit of an exaggeration, but that I knew some basics, we discovered that our situation were quite similar. He and his Vietnamese friend, Mai, had been volunteering in a rural boarding school in Nepal for six months, and where now traveling through India!
I couldnt help but notice that the guy, Nik, had some familiarity to his being so I asked him where he was from. And guess what, he was from Norway too. Even more surprisingly, we had grown up in the same city. I was also surprised by their seemingly young age, and when we asked, we realized they too where 18-19.
After some chit chat, Mai and Nik stood up to leave, when Nik asks, «have you by any chance heard of UWC?». Eh, well. Turns out Mai and Nik went to UWC in Norway the same two years Donna went to UWC in China and I in Hong Kong. And If you haven already realized, this means Nik and I have actually met before. Not only at the summer camp UWC Norway holds for its future UWCers, he even had is UWC interview just after mine.
After realizing all of this, we ended up talking for another two hours in that tiny cafe, in the middle of a mountain, outside small village, situated in the lower Himalayas of India. What. a. small. world.
Later Nik and Mai came by Pune to say hi and visit Mahindra UWC, but unfortunately I was out of town with my host fam. But, who knows, maybe we will randomly stumble upon each other sometime, somewhere, once again?