About a couple times each year I clean up my list of Facebook friends.
Solo travel for nine months in 2013/14 meant that I met a lot of people on the road. Many of these were token adds, promising to meet further on our journey.
This week I decided it was time to streamline my news feed for people I actually consider friends.
In the middle of this process I paused when I reached one particular person – a name I had almost forgotten. Let’s call her ‘Lisa’.
I met Lisa at the beginning of my trip, in September ’13, starting in Mexico. She was the first local I became friendly with, and she made it her responsibility to educate me on her home – the party town of Playa Del Carmen, showing me the best bars, clubs and beach spots. We became very friendly – as friendly as you can be with someone you’ve just met who you will be saying goodbye to a short week later (my enrolment in Spanish class in Guatemala meant I couldn’t stay longer).
We enjoyed our brief time together. Both single and with very similar interests, it was with a heavy heart that I left, hopeful that she would find the time later in the year to catch me on one of the fourteen countries I planned to visit.
Over the next few weeks, as tends to happen, our communication became more infrequent. She started a new job in tourism. I found my own little tribe to party with, busy discovering new cultures and sights.
Two weeks before Christmas, a time when I was a little homesick, I messaged her to see if meeting me in Colombia was possible. She responded immediately with an excited message and said she would try to make it happen.
That was on December 13th 2013.
In the weeks that followed, I dipped in and out of Facebook. I was travelling without a mobile phone for that year and internet cafes were at a premium. However, I never received a response to my follow up enquiries about a February or March meeting.
I figured that perhaps the connection that we had in Mexico had probably weakened in the two month gap, so wrote if off as one of the unfortunate things about travel – the difficulty of building and maintaining strong friendships.
Back to present day – two and a half years later. I decided that before deleting Lisa, I would check her timeline. I noticed it hadn’t been active in a while. There were older posts on her wall in Spanish which I hadn’t really paid much attention to before. Now, with my Spanish vastly improved, I began to read further down the page and noticed a worrying pattern.
Lisa was killed in a car crash on December 13th 2013.
Herself and three friends, all in their twenties, had died when their car had left the motorway and crashed into a bridge. The driver of their vehicle was under the influence of alcohol at the time which authorities say was responsible for the accident occurring in the small hours of that morning.
She was a beautiful 29 year old. We only had a brief time together but we clicked instantly, and it was with great sorrow that I learnt today that she had passed.
It really hits home how delicate this thread we dangle from, called life really is. I can’t imagine the incredible pain those four families must have felt to have had children stolen in the prime of their life.
Thinking of you at this time my friend.