That Time I Lost My Travel Buddy

Hands up if you’ve ever lost something while traveling. If you’re a normal person, you probably have your hand up. Otherwise, you’re a liar or some kind of freaky mutant with superhuman powers seeing as you never lost anything while traveling. Okay, maybe you’re not a freak – that’s actually pretty darn impressive.

We’ve all been there, except you liars and superheroes at finding things: that moment when you realize that something is (the horror!) missing. Sweat starts pouring as you frantically search your belongings for your passport, camera, laptop, favorite pair of flip flops, or whatever that something is that you may have lost.

"Have you seen my travel buddy?"

“Have you guys seen my travel buddy?”

I pride myself for not forgetting important things anymore so you can imaging my surprise when I lost my travel buddy in Sri Lanka. Yes, my TRAVEL BUDDY – a walking, breathing, fully grown adult and I lost him. The sad thing is, months later, I still haven’t found him.

Hanging out in Unawatuna. Photo by the missing P.

Hanging out in Unawatuna. Photo by the missing P.

P and I met in Sri Lanka and after discovering that we had similar itineraries, we started making our way through the south of Sri Lanka together. We swam in the blue waters of Unawatuna Beach, rented a motorbike and explored the historic Galle Forte, endured standing in packed trains, learned how Ceylon tea was made, and had many lively discussions over shared meals over the course of the two weeks we traveled together in Sri Lanka.

And then, one morning, he came and knocked on my door and asked if I was ready to move to the next city. I said yes, but I needed around 30 minutes to finish packing. He said he’d wait for me in his room. I finished packing, gathered my things, and went to knock on his door. No answer.

Knock again. No answer.

The hotel receptionist came by and informed me in broken English that my travel companion had already left the hotel.

Strange, I thought, but perhaps he just wanted to get a head start and would be waiting for me at the bus station. I headed to the bus station and after looking around, I didn’t see P anywhere. Things were only now starting to feel weird, but I thought maybe he got tired of waiting for me and went ahead on his own. I was sure I’d see him at the next city we were planning to go.

I got on the next bus and take a rather lonely and confused bus ride to Kandy. Still no sign of P so I decide to make my way to the hostel we had talked about checking out. I arrive and no other guests had checked in that day. Again, I was extremely confused, but figured I would surely see P at some point.

Needless to say, it never happened.

Sure, I could have called P or even emailed me to ask him what happened, but we never exchanged any contact information. We were traveling together for so long, we just thought we would exchange information at the end of the trip. How was I to know that one day he’d just disappear?

So… yeah, I lost my travel buddy. Is this a new low?

What do you think happened to P?

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