Failing Forward

with Daniel Cassadio

Chapter 12 - Stranger Danger

Chapter EntriesDaniel Casadio1 Comment

Aeroporti di Roma and also in my cosy hostel in frosty Reykjavik. 

I wrote this blog:

Blank. I’ve been starring at an empty Word document for some minutes now and I’ve only just started writing. A lot has happened in such little time and it’s hard to keep up with myself. I’m surviving on a couple hours of sleep and I’ve had a fairly massive day of looking at gate signs, waiting in queues, wandering aimlessly through ‘duty free’ shops and hating myself for buying that overpriced plastic sandwich. Yuck.

After Mitch and I spontaneously ditched our travel plans and headed back to Sammatz (the international German community), we were given an incredibly warm welcome from the locals of the community. Our friends, the travelling volunteers also gave us somewhat of a warm welcome, some felt as if betrayed because we had a really nice and somewhat emotional goodbye. Nevertheless, we had to laugh about it.
Mitch and I had to re-tell the story of what happened an insane amount of times. It’s funny how the more you repeat the story, the shorter the story gets. When we first arrived, we were telling the story to some volunteers, and we were so descriptive, emotional, loud, passionate and enthusiastic. But by the next day when someone asked why we were back, we would pretty much say; ‘We were at subway. We talked for half an hour, after slamming the table a few times, we agreed to come back.’

At some points throughout the month of November, I definitely questioned whether or not I made the right decision not getting on that bus. Parts of me were very curious to see how things would of came about if I followed through, who knows what could have happened in Lyon and then a different kind of an adventure waited for me in Serbia. But at the end of the day, I was very happy to stay another month in Sammatz. In the month of November, I grew closer with the kids in Peronnik, closer with the locals of Sammatz and of course the travelling volunteers.

Within a blink of an eye, my time in Sammatz was then over and before I knew it I was saying goodbye to everyone again. Although I joked about possibly coming back on the same day, I knew I wouldn’t. I couldn’t. I’ll definitely be back in the community at some point, but for now I need to keep moving.

I hopped onto a 30 hour FlixBus that took me from Hamburg to Rome and there I was unbelievably excited because I got to see my sister, brother in law and their kids. I haven’t seen them since April and it was incredible to connect with them again and not through Facetime. I found such great pleasure playing with the kids again, seeing their progression and being so impressed about hearing how much they talk.
I would often hate when adults would say to me when I was younger ‘Oh wow Dan! You’ve grown so much since I last saw you!’. And my younger self would just think; ‘yeah, yeah you’re just saying that’. But it’s so unbelievably true! Kids grow so fast and it won’t be long until I’ll be hearing about Bella and Luca’s high school relationship problems. Although they’re 2 and 3 years old right now, so I guess one step at a time.
However, I wander from their innocent, very young and child minded perspective; do they think I’ve changed in the last 7 months? I think children can really read into a situation or a person, sure they might not know how to express their thoughts verbally but I guess one can only wander what’s going through their little beautiful mind.

I was with my gorgeous family for only a short 2 days. I hated saying goodbye after only such a brief amount of time and in the past couple days its felt like the only thing I’ve been doing is saying goodbye to people I value a lot. This stuff is hard.
One of my Italian cousins being the incredible man he is, offered to pick me up at 3 am and take me to Rome’s airport. I was astonished of how selfless and giving this guy was to do this for me, I was very blessed. From jumping on a flight to London, then a bus to another London airport, then another plane to Reykjavik and then a bus to my hostel. After 18 or so hours of constant travel and running around, I crashed in my dormitory.

Once I woke up, I woke up to the very strange realisation that I was in Iceland. I did not think I would wind up in this very unique country at such a point in my life and also in this horrific frosty season. We only get a few hours of sunlight and it’s not even direct sunlight, it’s more of a sunny glow. I’m not used to this at all, this is very different, but I love it.

At the hostel I’m staying at, I met this lady in her late twenties. Originally from Peru but now living in New Jersey. We got along quite well and connected very easily, we went for a walk, bought groceries and cooked an incredible pasta meal that didn’t bankrupt our bank accounts (Iceland is so expensive!). Throughout all this time, we talked and talked. I told her many of my experiences over the last 7 months as well as life back home. She told me lots about her life; work, friends, travel, a long-distance relationship and the heart break that followed. She’s now questioning what she’s doing with her life and where she’s at; physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally. I loved her honesty and how open minded she was. I mean telling your problems to a silly 19-year-old Australian isn’t ideal for anyone.

This definitely isn’t the first deep and emotional chat I’ve had with a stranger, but I forgot how much I value it. As you can see I’ve not mention her name, I guess it’s good for privacy reasons and another is that we didn’t exchange names at all. She may have told me her name at the beginning, but I cannot remember for the life of me. I’m horrible like that. Nevertheless, we got too caught up conversing about other topics.

She’s gone now, she’s returned back to the US. But sometimes I feel like strangers can offer the best advice because they don’t know a single thing about you. They would just speak exactly what’s on their mind, they wouldn’t feel the need to sugar coat or adjust words to suit your way of thinking/personality because they don’t know it.

There are probably 10 to 20 strangers out there in the world who don’t know my name, may or may not remember my face but they know of my insecurities, the lessons I’ve learnt the hard way, my fondest memories, greatest triumphs and my philosophy on life. I love that. I think it’s beautiful and somewhat romantic.

Yes, stranger danger is true. In my experiences the advice of a stranger has encouraged me to do things I never would have thought I would ever do. A few years ago, some random well-dressed gentleman told me about travel blogging.


Some strangers in this world will rob or kill you. But from the rest of them, you can learn a thing or two.