This story goes to show what a small world we live in. While I was hiking the Wales Coast Path I often relied on strangers to drive me into town or back out on the trail, as most of the towns were more inland. I can’t remember all of those rides, but one in particular is engraved in my memory.
It was a beautiful day when I came to Penmon lighthouse and took off my pack for a break. As I sat there, a car pulled up in the parking lot. I was used to people starting up a conversation and wasn’t surprised when the man walked over to me. We had a chat about my hike and where I was going. He asked if I could help him get his kayak in the water so he could go out for a paddle. When he was done he would be happy to drive me to a supermarket and back to this spot, so I wouldn’t cheat on my hike. It sounded like a good deal to me.
I sat near the water and I watched him paddle. After lifting the kayak back onto his car, he did as promised and drove me to the supermarket. I did some shopping, he dropped me off at the parking lot and we said our goodbyes. And that was that end of that.
Well not really. After hiking for about half an hour I realised I didn’t have my camera. It was supposed to be in the top pocket of my pack and it wasn’t there. Anyone who has used a pack for several weeks knows: everything has his own specific spot, if it is not in the spot it is gone. Well the camera was definitely not in its spot.
Remembering that I took out my wallet in the car earlier today, I realised it must have fallen out while doing so. Going back to the parking lot was no use, the man drove away after dropping me off. I didn’t even know his name or license plate or anything. All I knew was that he is a local and he likes kayaking.
It felt like a lost cause, but I waved down the next person I saw and told my story. I explained that I didn’t know anything about this man other than his hobby. The person looked at me pensively and with a determined voice stated that there were only two people in the neighbourhood who kayak and that he knows both of them. I remember being very surprised and amused by this response. I couldn’t imagine knowing all kayakers in my hometown, but was happy that apparently he did.
We walked to his car and set off to look for the two kayakers. After a short drive he pulled over at a long driveway. I got out and started walking towards the house. After a few metres I could see the house and sure enough, the car parked in front of it was the same one that took me to the store earlier that day. I rang the doorbell, but no one answered. I went round to have a look at the garage and found someone home. Luckily it was the same guy. His jaw dropped to the ground when he saw me standing in the doorway. I explained what happened and told him that his hobby had made him famous in his neighbourhood. We went to the car and I was happy to find my camera on floor on the passenger’s side. After thanking both men profusely I hit trail once again.
I lost a couple of hours that day, but felt like the luckiest person in the world. Sometimes you just meet the right person at the right time.