Let me tell you a story.
It all began in the summer of 2011. A young woman, sad but brave, asked a cute Greek boy for his phone number. Emboldened by a recent breakup (the 2nd in as many years) she figured, what have I got to lose?
The boy gave her his number. They went to brunch. It was the day after her 25th birthday.
But he wasn’t interested in dating.
And yet, it didn’t matter.
Casually he mentioned a recent backpacking trip he’d taken through Europe. This was just what the girl had been dreaming of. Her brief crush instantly forgotten, the talk turned to travel. Her eyes glowing, she wanted to hear every word of his adventures.
You can do it, he told her. Just say you’re going, and then go. So, when are you going?
It was a chance meeting and a bold move that had lead her to just the right person. The one who gave her the push she needed to take off.
It was decided. The day after she turned 25, she made a decision. She would go to Europe.
Less than 3 months later, she left, bound for England, a place she’d only dreamed about. This was her first trip abroad, and full of so much promise.
She didn’t sleep a wink on the plane.
In London, she met up with her best college pal, R. Breathless with excitement, they rocketed through London in only a few days’ time. Their adventure was just beginning.
A last minute change in plans steered their course away from their intended destination of York and towards Edinburgh, Scotland. It was only the 3rd day of their backpacking trip when they landed in the Belford Hostel.
The Belford was an old converted church. Colorful stained glass lined the dorm room walls unexpectedly and the hallways were drafty and cavernous.
The girl had hoped to meet a boy on this trip: a dark and handsome Irishman, or a mysterious Italian. She had PS: I Love You fantasies playing on repeat in her head.
But sitting across from her that day in the hostel dorm room, it was not a European she encountered, but an American. He had a slight southern drawl and piercing blue eyes.
The boy was a few years older, traveling on his own. He was skinny, having spent several months in the Moroccan desert. Soft-spoken and friendly, he was a gentleman.
R and the girl invited the boy to join them for a dram of whisky. There they got to know one another better. The girl could sense immediately that she was drawn to this boy, her attraction not owing only to his appearance but to the sense of goodness that surrounded him. When he inquired if she and R were a couple, she adamantly replied “No,” perhaps a bit too loudly, and threw back her whisky.
The next day, the boy joined them again for the least romantic of events, the backpacker pub crawl. It was a great way to meet other young people traveling in Edinburgh and to enjoy some cheap and copious adult beverages. And a great excuse to spend time with this boy.
They were together all night. Finally, in a bar called Frankenstein’s, amidst animatronic monsters and test tube jello shots, the boy and girl shared a first kiss.
But the silly location didn’t matter.
It was only the two of them, and that moment.
The pub crawl ended, and they all retreated to the Belford.
I’m not tired, are you tired?
R went to sleep and the boy and the girl took back out to the streets of Edinburgh.
That night was a cinematic treasure. There was a bright moon and blustery winds and cobblestone streets. There was laughter and embraces and learning about each other.
This was just the beginning for these Two Drifters….
Read on for Part II of the Tale of Two Drifters, and find out where we are today.