We told you last week how our trip to the Philippines was the perfect vacation. We had made our way to this beautiful island, the weather was (mostly) gorgeous and experiencing diving was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done. But this wasn’t why it was so perfect.

It was the people we met.

You will always meet interesting people while travelling, always. But it isn’t always true that those you meet become instant best friends or people you will always remember. The fleeting connections we make as we jaunt from one place to the next can’t always be sustained and not everyone you come across will be your cup of tea.

However, when you do meet those people, the ones who you truly connect with and who inspire you, well that is truly amazing.

And it turns out that Malapascua was just one of those places that enticed all sorts of fascinating, awesome and like-minded people together.

The people we spoke to were from all walks of life, and taking a crazy variety of different paths to their future.

There were the teachers we met from Korea, who, just like us, were escaping the cold to head down under with the fishies. There were the kind and inspirational dive masters who made our courses, and happy hour, that much more incredible. And not forgetting the local dive masters whose home-grown knowledge of the island’s dive sites meant we saw everything that Malapascua had to offer. There were the expert divers who enthralled us with talk of diving in Indonesia, Malaysia and Egypt.

There were the backpackers who, after a hair-raising, wave crashing ride together over to our paradise island, did become instant friends. There was the couple we shared a taxi ride with to the airport just before leaving, who worked for one of the leading travel tour companies in the world and made us remember just how varied and wonderful working life could be.There was the guy who ran Manila’s most awesome hostel (probably), who took us out to experience China Town during Chinese New Year.

And then there was Steve.

A man whose name and fame preceded him. A man whose travel tales had our wanderlust almost pushed to bursting point. Who was constantly making the quickest quips at anything and everything, which, for someone who loves dad jokes as much as I do, had me in fits of laughter for two weeks. He was simply one of the warmest and most experienced travellers we have ever met.

His current trip of 2 years, “a short one for [him]”, coincided with his 500th dive, which he did with Thresher Shark Divers to commemorate them being the people who he had his first ever dive with and so we were lucky enough to meet him there.

Although we are in no position to be taking years at a time to travel without working like Steve does, he reminded Oli and I of what it is like to take big, adventurous trips. He reminded us just how much we want to make sure travel remains a huge part of our lives. And he made us really, really want to go to Nepal.

Travel is amazing for a million and twenty different reasons, but meeting people who inspire you, who make you think outside the box, and who give you your next travel wish list destination, has got to be one of my favourites.

Course completion Shark Bite shots!

Course completion Shark Bite shots!

The two incredible people who created my new diving obsession!

The two incredible people who created my new diving obsession!

Happy hour cocktails, upon what great travel friendships are made.

Happy hour cocktails, upon what great travel friendships are made.

Steve and Seema, two diving experts who got our travel minds racing.

Steve and Seema, two diving experts who got our travel minds racing.

The newbies and our masters!

The newbies and our masters!

A doctor on holiday from Saudi and a teacher from Korea- this is travel.

A doctor on holiday from Saudi and a teacher from Korea- this is travel.

Oli and Steve, laughing of course.

Oli and Steve, laughing of course.

Is your favourite thing about travel the people that you meet along the way? Tell us about your travel friendships in the comments below!

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