More than seven billion people, seven continents and 196 countries make up our planet, but have you ever noticed how small this breathing sphere of blues and greens really is? The global interconnection is made increasingly more evident with social media these days. When you mix in individuals with a case of the wanderlust, the web of who knows who becomes remarkably uncanny.
While monotonously perusing my Facebook newsfeed one afternoon—as this world’s generation is apt to do—I noticed my college lab partner is friends with a girl I met in the Florida Keys. I attended Ohio Wesleyan University, a private college of less than 2,000 undergrads, in a town skirting the rural areas of Columbus. Not one of the three of us is a Florida native. And yet somehow we were linked. Where did they meet, I wondered. Was our zoological background the common thread? With the amount of internships and conferences aspiring wildlife conservationists attend, it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to surmise they’d met somewhere along the way.
But then there’s the Australian I worked with in the Ecuadorian Amazon whose boyfriend knows a girl I interned with in Texas. Then there’s the face-with-no-name associate from my college days who I ran into on the busy streets of Chicago. I posted a photo on Facebook a couple months ago during my travels in Peru. A British friend and co-worker (also from my Amazon days) commented: Are you in Lima? Because this photo was taken a block from my apartment. I mean, come on world, seriously. My travel buddy now lives in the same neighborhood as my sister halfway across the earth? I find myself repeatedly questioning, Is this for real?
Oh, right, and then there’s the time my family was vacationing in Austria and my sister grabs my arm, shouting incredulously, “Isn’t that your roommate’s boyfriend?” Indeed it was, meters ahead of me, ice skating in Salzburg on his own family vacation.
Moments, connections, encounters like these make my head spin, spurn me to say aloud, “What the fuuuuuuuuuh?” You can blink as many times as you want, but you can’t hide from the truth. We’re told the world is a big and scary place when in reality, it’s just a small world after all.