I was living in Hong Kong as a young professional. It was fun and exciting, but could also get very busy.
A normal week usually consists of long working hours, followed by happy hour drinks and a constant stream of evening activities.
One of my favorite activities was Latin dance and I would go social dancing every week, where I met other regular dancers.
We came from different backgrounds and all walks of life, but were joined together because of a shared passion for Latin dance.
However, things had gotten too busy lately and I needed a break. A getaway from this city life.
And so, I booked a solo trip to an island in Thailand.
Beach. Heat. Coconuts. Palm trees. Massage. Makeup-free. Hair down. Just by myself. It was exactly what I wanted.
On this island, I found a beach party where they were playing Latin music. Perfect! It couldn't get any better than this!
The setting was perfect; right by the ocean, next to the line of palm trees.
I started dancing salsa and bachata. Every time my dance partner was leading me into a turn, I was struggling to spin in the sand and keep up with the rythm.
Nevertheless, I was enjoying it and had a lot of fun.
As I finished another turn, I discovered a face that looked familiar. He was watching the dancing crowd from behind the palm trees.
I looked closer and realized that I knew him! He was one of the regular dancers in Hong Kong that I often danced with.
My face lit up. I rushed over and threw my hands around him.
"Oh, hey!", he was caught by surprise. "What are you doing here?", he asked. "What are YOU doing here?", I asked and we both laughed.
"Oh whatever. Come on! Let's dance!", I said and pulled him towards the dancing crowd.
We danced the night away.
When the party was over, the sun had set and the moon as out.
He took me on a ride around the island on his motorcycle.
I held on to his back while we zoomed through the traffic, wind in my hair. I was smiling. Our eyes met in the rear mirror. He smiled back.
We picked a small restaurant run by a local family.
Over the course of dinner, we had the longest conversation we had ever had, despite having known each other for nearly a year at the social dancing in Hong Kong.
He was an interesting man, working as a Spanish teacher and living on an island in Hong Kong. He owned a kajak and would go out on the sea every week.
I realized we had very different lives, despite living in the same city. I never thought that such a way of life was possible in the urban Hong Kong.
I promised to pay a visit to his island home when we were both back in the city.
What was originally planned as a solo getaway from Hong Kong, turned out to be a trip where I finally got to know a man I had ran into so often in the city.
As I returned home, I had gained a new perspective on my life in the city.