Amigos de Guaro and Best Friends Abroad
How do you describe the kind of instantaneous friendships created overseas? There’s something about the foreign air – or the foreign booze – that makes you love or hate the people you meet with a depth normally only acquired after knowing someone a decade. You go from introductions to deepest of secret telling in the time it takes you to climb one exotic volcano. Maybe it’s because you inevitably share such incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experiences with people you meet during your travels. Maybe it’s because you’re free of worries, free of cares, and free to just love or hate with reckless abandon.
Whatever the cause, you suddenly find yourself desperately sad when it comes time to say goodbye. You promise to stay in touch. You laugh over inside jokes that were made yesterday, but feel like they were made when you were just kids. You may become life-long pen pals or never see each other again. At the time it doesn’t matter. The universe has bonded you in a way only fellow travellers can understand.
In Costa Rica they invite you to throw back a shot of guaro as soon as you’ve put down your backpack. They claim it tastes like vodka. It actually tastes like gasoline. But who cares? You do it because, well, that’s what you do. It’s amazing how you might tell your pals at home that won’t drink tequila/Southern Comfort/absinthe (insert the one liquor that makes you puke at first sniff) but you’ll down a whole bottle of this gut-knotting stuff just because your new Amigos de Guaro offered it. Oh, that’s what you become after your first, or second, or third shot – an Amigo de Guaro. It’s like a friend you meet up with at the bar but don’t necessarily cry to during a breakup. A friend for fun times.
Maybe that’s all your new found travelling friends are – Amigos de Guaro. They share some great vacation moments with you, maybe even a harrowing border crossing or two, and then they vanish. You imagine they go off into a never-ending cycle of jungle treks and sightseeing. But probably they go back to their nine to five office job, just like you do. That’s the thing about friends you meet abroad, you get to think of them as exciting, adventurous. And they probably think the same of you. Who cares what they’re normally like on a Wednesday after a meeting? You have the luxury to remember them just as they were sipping coconut milk on the beach. In real life you might have hit it off just as well. You might be there to jump each other’s car battery when it dies or bring by some soup when the other is sick. Or you might find that you stay as just Amigos de Guaro. You laugh together on Saturday night and then forget about each other during the week.
Either way it doesn’t matter. Whether they’re really really real mates or just Amigos de Guaro, you’ll always remember the friends you meet while travelling as your best friends abroad.
I’ve met some really great, life long friends travelling. I’ve also met some amazing people who I have unfortunately lost touch with over the years. However I feel blessed to have met them on various trips. They’ve helped me become the person I am today.
I’m glad to hear you’ve managed to keep in touch with some friends met while travelling. It’s great to share your stories with people who were there to experience some of them with you!
Lovely post Kath. You are one helluva writer! You certainly are the best travel friend I have made. Love how you say we imagine them trekking through some jungle for the rest of their lives. ha ha. So funny! Thank God for that night in Chico’s. May the good times reign!
Thanks, Franki! I am so glad our travels brought us together. And just think, you actually did go on to trek through jungles (and sail the seven seas) after we both left Montezuma!