The lone backpacker

Not having made the top 16 in a tournament that most people would have least expected you to place really does bombs you out. When you know you could have easily done so much better. Day 2 of Sydney and the first main tournament took place to see who would place top 16. I missed out by just 1 position. I could go into details about the fight, but to cut things short, my preparation was terrible. No sleep, nothing to eat and just stress. Circumstances that do not favour the competitor. That was just one of the things I learnt....

It was about 9 pm at night and people were out having dinner. I didn’t eat anything all day, was stressed out the night before and so preparation for the tournament didn’t go at all according to plan. My eyes were red and I looked dead. Mainly because I didn’t do well in the tourney, nor did I have much sleep... I was feeling pretty bad for myself.

Everyone told to me just to get some sleep, so I crashed into our dormitory. It was a backpacker’s hotel. Really cheap accommodation. Standards not high though. It had room for 6 people, in which 3 of my other friends were in, leaving room for another 2 guests. The past 2 nights sleeping there was interesting. We had a random lady; a random Queensland guy looking to get his visa done in Sydney and a random German foreigner guy sleep in. That germane guy was funny as... He didn’t like Asians and had a crazy accent. These peoples would only sleep for one night and leave the next. They probably had connecting flights to other locations I figure. They were a crazy bunch no doubt.

I guess as if crashed I noticed someone else belongings. Couldn’t tell if it was a girl or not. Whatever, I went to bed and lied there... pondering about what to do now... I didn’t have much money on me either. I was waiting for my next payment from Centrelink in 2 more days so I was really tight on money and couldn’t do anything. I think I dazed for about half an hour till the door opened. A girl walked in, and noticed me there and said hi in which I replied hi back.

Awkward silence for about 2 minutes as she unpacked her stuff.
She was a pretty girl, about 20-25ish, with blonde hair tied up high behind the back. She was fair with nice slightly wide facial frame and looked of European descent. A slight hint of mascara, and nice facial features, she had this really nice smile with dimples that only highlighted her smile.

I noticed the room was cluttered with my friend’s belongings.
“Sorry if the room’s too messy”.
“Oh no I’ve been through a lot worse. This to me is like a 5 star hotel.”
“ so?”
So we talked. We talked about what was worse than this (apparently sleeping in a hallway of 25 beds is worse in hot weather conditions. It was just too much for her)
then we talked about who she was and what she did.
Turns out she’s from Switzerland and she was in Sydney just for the last 2 days of her 3 month voyage around Australia. I must say I was impressed. She was only 21 and doing all this travelling, alone by herself... she was also quite the intellectual, studying medicine back at home as well.

I asked don’t you ever get lonely during your journey? She says
“nope not really, being alone lets you meet so many people”
She told me of stories on the people she met. One guy would work as a painter and a DJ (weird combination if you ask me) in India and for 4 months and would fly to Thailand to live for another 8 months as a god, just because of the difference in currency.
She thought it was a bit sad because, he didn’t truly have a “home” to come to. Like a family. He said everywhere was his home. She thought it was an interesting proposition however.

We talked about how life was back in Switzerland compared to here, the difference. Winter had snow, and I remember asking
“does getting hit by a snowball really hurt?”
She said “ Only if it hits the face, you go all red from the pain and your all wet and because snow had the tendency to hit like a rock, it’s actually quite painful”
“thanks, I’ll keep that in my mind .. for my friends ;D laughs*
Talked about what family was like back there, how the environment was just so different, the people as well...
how it snowed in winter and summer days only ever got up to 30 degrees. This also explained why she was so white.
Talked about her epic journey around Australia and some other countries (that I cannot remember) and how one time she almost lost her camera and she was in tears even. But she found it. It was the only thing keeping her memories intact, and her experiences a reality.

She’d met an Italian girl and was told how the perfect pasta would take hours to cook, whereas she just opened a jar and poured it in some pasta just like most of us here. She got to taste her pasta and she said Italians really do take pride in their pasta taking absolutely ages to cook.
I commented:
“was it Bollisimo? In my best personation of an Italian person”
“of course” *laughs*
How she once forgot to put sunscreen on her legs and got blisters from sunburn, it was the first time in her life as she’d never been in such a hot environment.

It was nice. I felt like crap and didn’t have anyone to talk to but here we were, two strangers from the other side of the world, talking about... “Life”

This was until of course my friends walked in and well that was it for the night. After a brief introduction with friends, She stepped out for a bit and all my friends commenting on how hot she looked and dubbed her “Swiss miss”
At least I knew her name at the time and a bit more. She was to stay for one more night before leaving, the same time we were too.

That night, I lay in bed sort of thinking about this girls experiences and what would it be like, to be a backpacker. Travelling from city to city not knowing anything but learning as you go. The people you’d meet and the different stages of life people were at. The lone wonder, kind of like in games not knowing what came next.

Couldn’t really get this girl out of my head. She was actually quite pretty as well, there were a lot of things I wanted to talk to her about as well. So after the tournament and me having a few games, everyone was celebrating that awesome night out with karaoke with all the interstate players but this girl, She intrigued me.

So I returned back to my room... and she wasn’t there. She was out of course. So I waited on the bed almost dozing off when she came back again. She unpacked her things again and went to clean her clothes. She came back and got ready to go to sleep... but she started talking to me again...
“So you said you lived in Adelaide? What’s it like?”
We kept talking. Talking about anything, how to pronounce something in France, movies she watched, it was quite the nice change... I felt at ease with this girl, even for the short space of time we’d met. When 2 strangers meet and knowing the fact you’ll never see them again, you can talk about life’s anything and not worry about being judged at all... and I felt even that little bit closer to her

Being the only child of the family I remember her saying she wanted a sister one time and was even readying for her parents for an adoption until a last minute cancellation. She was sad. I’d explain my experiences of having siblings, fighting for toilets, the last bit of food and we both laughed. She’d defenietly have more than one child if she ever gets children.

She was so easy and carefree to talk to. I could talk to her about anything.
I think we talked for about 3 hours until it was time for sleep. This girl was pretty awesome... I realised. Then it hit me. I’ll never see this girl again after tomorrow morning after we check out. It was a sobering thought.

I remember joking how... the last night in Sydney she spent, the irony of it raining and asif Sydney was crying because she left. she commented how back in home, it would be raining when she returned despite it being summer back that.
That second night, my friends came back half drunk from karaoke and they were abit loud but I think she slept through it well.

Then morning came, and I was actually quite disheartened (I didn’t talk to her in front of the guys because it would have been a bit awkward, me and her just pretended we knew each other as merely backpackers.) We glanced at each other for a bit but that was it.

It was time and we all checked out together (including her) and she went back up stairs to grab something. I swear this it is going to sound stupid, but as we were checking out, the radio played this song, as if as if it was the perfect timing - “dice – Finley Quay” and just for a moment, it felt like the scene of a movie. In captured my mood perfectly.

She paid, and with the last words said “see you guys” and went upstairs,disapeareed and that was it. My friends weren’t aware of anything but I felt like I lost a friend right there. We went to grab some breakfast but I wasn’t feeling up for it. That day we walked out of the hotel, there was a light drizzle...

the group split for up for a bit and so it was just me and a friend who went to eat at the local viet restaraunt. We talked about the girl. It’s funny, we decided because she was pretty we wanted to take a photo with her, so we decided why not and go back and pretend we forgot something just see if she was still at the hotel. She wasn’t. But to my delight, her backpack was. We waited patiently outside for her to comeback.
10 minutes later she walks in and with a small but delightful shock asks:
hey What are you guys doing here? are you waiting for something?
We were wondering if we could take a photo
( My friend thought she was pretty hot too)
So I took a photo with her and since my friend was now on the phone, I finally got to say that proper goodbye, good luck and all the best for the future. It kind of felt complete, like closing the chapter of a book. Her flight was in an hour’s time whilst mine was in 6 hours so she had to go soon. But I was glad I got to take at least a photo with this stranger who became something more.

I know... I’ll never meet her again, hear her speak again, see her again, but for those 2 nights that we talked, it felt.......... refreshing and opened my mind. I remember my final words went something like “perhaps we will meet some time again in the future... 10 years. Let’s discuss what happens then”
“Sure why not” as she gave a friendly smile back.

But deep down both of us knew that this was never going to happen. Switzerland? Sydney? The chances are next to nothing. I’m never in Sydney and she’s was just the backpacker from a far distant place.

2 random people who god knows would have never met ever on the face of earth where at one point meeting and became awesome friends. Just sheer luck and conincidence.

Sure I could have asked for her email or her number but why? (and no she doesn't have a fb) We both lead different lives around the world and communication would only just die off eventually as we get busier in life.

Until now, It still feels like a dream meeting this person and talking about anything.
My only proof that this wasn’t just a figure of my imagination is a photo, a constant reminder that we’d had meet and talked about our differences in life

If it wren’t for that photo, I’d probably had no proof this girl existed and it could have all very well become a long lost distant memory.

I know... in due time, I’ll probably forget about her, about what we talked about, who she was but for now I'll savour the moment that these people who through the most randomness of coincedences met, talked and shared a mutual respective moment.

That song – dice, will always be that song to go back to that memory

dubbed as Swiss miss and that pretty switzerland girl who slept in the same dorm as us by my 3 other companions, at least I knew her name. It was a really nice name as well. Def a new favourite now.

As for the photo, I’ll keep it around, just to remind myself life out there is way more than small Adelaide. Will I still remember her name? Ask me again in 20 years time and I’ll tell you.