Some of the people I’ve met and will never forget: 

MC Karl, a 40 year old rasta who spent most of his life living in Canada but now lives back in Jamaica where he was born. Karl has devoted his life to helping kids in Jamaica have a chance in life. Karl lives in an old abandoned hotel in a rainforest near Ocho Rios. With no money, running water, or transport, Karl uses his people and communication skills rather than money to get by in life, helping the kids before helping himself. I spent 3 days with Karl in Negril and Ocho Rios. 

Chris, a 30-something guy who now lives in Deluth, Minnesota. Chris had a well paid career working in an office in Iowa for a few years, when he decided he couldn’t stand the corporate office environment anymore, and wanted to help others. He now works with kids who have committed a crime and instead of going to prison, have been given a chance to prove they can be a good person by living in a community. He says it’s challenging (kids turn up with no respect and gets punched or spat on often), but is worth it to see the kids transform themselves into a decent member of society. I met Chris on the plane from Dallas to Minneapolis. 

Katie, a 17-year old girl from Wisconsin. She moved to Odessa, Texas when she was 16 to get away from Wisconsin and live with her brother. She was sitting next to me and Chris on the plane, going home to her family for Christmas. She said she couldn’t wait to get home and see her family – living in Texas wasn’t all it cracked up to be. It made me think about how there’s no place like home. Katie, Chris and I became friends on our 4 hour plane journey to Minneapolis. Even though we only met briefly, I’ll never forget them, for making me laugh so much and for making it the best plane journey yet. 

“Grandma Montréal,” our wonderful landlady at our B&B in Montréal. She bought us a rose and soya milk, made our stomachs “clap” after feeding us the best (and biggest) breakfast I’ve ever eaten. She told us of the last time she visited England, in 1956, a time when gentlemen would be seen watering the plants on Sundays, there were always orderly queues for the buses, money was left unattended in banks for customers to change their money, and Englishmen would clap at a football match if the opposing team’s goal was well deserved. Who knew that England had changed so much in 50 years? 

The 2 Australians guys and the Peruvian guy I hung out with for two days in Austin, Texas. I hope I meet such cool, friendly people in the hostels I stay at in the future.

Most hospitable people I’ve met: The family from rural Pennsylvania who I met in Jamaica, and invited me to dinner and drinks with them; and the woman who re-opened the cafeteria in Waco to make me a sandwich (it was the only food I ate all day).

Biggest **** I’ve met so far: The 50+ year old pervert from Pennsylvania, who I met in Jamaica. He told me how his life now involves travelling back and forth between Jamaica and the Philippines. He told me how he liked “young, teenage girls,” how he’s got “a little hottie waiting for him in the Philippines,” and how he had just had “two Jamaican sisters in their school uniform.” I wanted to smash my beer bottle in his face!