I'm developing a theory. Perhaps it's an after-effect of the pre-flight Vic Bitter, but more and more I'm beginning to think I know people. Looking around the transit lounge at Darwin airport – my flight out of Australia isn't direct from Brisbane to Bali, but has stopped in Darwin for about an hour – I keep thinking, 'Now where do I know that face from? And she's hauntingly familiar too...' I've had this experience before, and it's rather unnerving.
Now I know that coincidences do happen, and that travellers continually bump into each other – witness Ben and Mira in New Zealand turning up in the remotest places, or all the people I kept meeting in the Red Centre – but it's becoming pretty commonplace that I see a face, and try to remember where I've seen it before. Unsurprisingly, I fail to connect nine times out of ten.
Perhaps travel simply increases the number of faces you see – it certainly increases it over a normal, regular, nine-to-five suburban existence – and perhaps the faces I see aren't actually those I remember, they're just close. Or perhaps there are only a few hundred of us travelling each well-worn trail, and seeing the same faces is an inevitable consequence of the laws of probability. Whatever the reason, I could have sworn that I'd seen the girl sitting two rows in front of me on the plane somewhere before... but I couldn't for the life of me work it out, and after a while perhaps I wasn't so sure after all.
And should I ask them if we've met before? Not on your nelly; that's the corniest chat up line in the book. In fact, that's probably the answer; disillusioned by my stunning lack of relationships since going travelling, my brain has probably decided to con me into thinking I already know all these single women in a desperate attempt to get me to pull. Well, I'm not going to fall for it. So there.