The white-haired taxi driver, a burly gentleman who has three doctorate degrees, looks after two libraries at home, and is also a volunteer firefighter in the Canadian Rockies.

The husband-and-wife-team, who devotes their entire lives to a kangaroo sanctuary and refuge in the middle of the vast Australian Outback.

The charming hostel owner in Marrakech, who introduced me to the fascinating world of Moroccan cuisine, and often reminds us to return for a visit – inshallah.

The teahouse lady in Seoul, who traded a high-flying career for the peace and serenity of running a small, traditional teahouse in the heart of Insadong, and who speaks Spanish and wants to travel to South America.

The 85-year-old English grandmother, who went against the desperate pleas of her children and went backpacking alone, thousands of miles away in New Zealand.

These are chance encounters on the road – with ordinary people leading extraordinary lives. Some you meet once, then never again. Others you cross paths with, again and again.

These chance encounters – that’s the difference between a nice trip and an awesome journey.