Life-changing people you meet while travelling: The experiences I’ll remember for a lifetime

Written by Pauline Viaud

My name is Pauline, I’m French and 33 years old. For the past few years, my life has revolved around travelling.

I was lucky enough to see magnificent landscapes and monuments such as the Machu Picchu in Peru, the salt flat in Bolivia, the sacred rock Uluru in Australia, the rice fields of Bali, the Taj Mahal in India, the Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, the temples of Angkor in Cambodia….

And yet, these aren’t the best memories of all my travelling.

The most memorable are always linked to people. Even though I like my moments of solitude and let my thoughts wander, sharing my travel is what touches me the most.

Travelling is about the experience, the unforgettable moments, and building strong relationships with people who cross our path.


So, with stars in my eyes, I’ll tell you about the road trip in Australia with Alex, the generosity of Perrine in Sydney, my brother joining me in Melbourne, the spontaneous complicity with Simone, Seb and Ben in New Zealand, Kerrie’s warm welcome in Singapore, or my parents joining me in Thailand, my reunion with Claudine in Vietnam, weekends in a “carbet” with friends in Guyana.

Travelling is to realize that humankind is good and united.

I could tell you about these magical moments with random people: the big smiles of Indonesians; the group of Chilean women who comforted me after a flight from Bolivia. The numerous encounters in the Vietnamese streets, which even led us to a karaoke (with Vietnamese songs, of course!). Sharing the breaking of the fast in Istanbul with people of different nationalities, cultures and religions; the Sri Lankan host who offered me a coconut and a banana tree to take away; the Martinicans and their beautiful and sad stories… Also, those football, volleyball, badminton games here and there.

And then in India, with these beautiful women in sari who didn’t dare to approach me, but whose eyes and mouth smiled so hard to make me understand everything they would have wanted to say to each other.


A family in a village in the Sulawesi Islands asked me to take a picture of them, but they wanted a “paper copy”. A passerby told us that there was a printer close by, so my friends and I went on a mission. He took us to a family that had a printer, but no ink.

We crossed the village, kids joined us, and we arrived at the school principal’s place, who had three computers. We settled in the living room where the lady of the house plugged in her organ in karaoke mode, and we were entitled to a private concert! They very kindly printed three photos for us to distribute immediately!

These sometimes-improbable moments, these exchanged of looks, these smiles, all these sometimes only lasts a few seconds, but they brighten my days – and my memories. Don’t forget my travel buddies, who aren’t all mentioned here, but became valued friends.


Laos is very dear to me because that’s where Antoine came to join me and where our love story began. We even got lost on a motorcycle ride in the countryside. The locals of a village sheltered and fed us. We also had the chance to spend a day in the village school.

A little further south, we celebrated the Pi Maï New Year in the middle of 4,000 islands, festive and convivial days!

Since September 2019, I’ve been travelling in Canada with my boyfriend. We bought a camper and are visiting the west side. The incredible landscapes and the animals that we crossed are up to our expectations. And yet, what pleases me the most is to live this adventure as a couple and discover the intensity of our feelings, through this journey.

And you, do you have that kind of travel encounters that marked your life?!

To find out more about our trip:

Les biches vagabondes : / The Vi’oz trip :

This post was translated from French to English by:

Hello! I’m Cassandra, 23 years old and in my second year studying translation at Laval University in Quebec City. I’m learning to translate three languages: French, English and Chinese, which is both exhilarating and challenging! I love jogging, reading and travelling. I’ve just got back from a one-month-trip through Europe.

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