As I waited to check in at Miami Beach’s Freehand hostel, the brunette in front of me turned around and smiled.
“You here solo, too?” she asked. “I’m just visiting for a couple of days, from Minneapolis.”
We were amazed by the coincidence — I live in the same city, of course, 1,800 miles from that poolside lobby — but it was about to get even weirder.
After grabbing dinner and wandering the strip together, we returned to the hostel, where we met my new Minnesota friend’s randomly assigned roommate — a girl who also happened to be from Minneapolis (but lives in Italy now). The three of us went out on the town, a trio of solo travelers from the same place meeting by chance on the other side of the country.
Hey, Minnesotans get around.
I’m not from here originally, but I receive reminders of just how traveled my new neighbors are on just about every trip I take.
Last year in Oregon wine country, a bartender asked where we were from. When we told him, he informed us we were “the fifth group of Minnesotans” that weekend. A week later, a friend and I were boarding a boat in Seattle to cruise to Vancouver, British Columbia. We plopped down in the first seats we saw — unwittingly, next to a bunch of Minnesotans.
“Ya don’t say!”
Lately, I’ve encountered my fellow statesmen in much more far-flung locales. During a recent jaunt through Tokyo, I grabbed a cocktail with some (Minnesotan) friends I’d met on the plane, and we asked someone to take our picture. Well, it turned out he was from Minnesota, too.
Shortly afterward, I was on top of a canyon in northern Thailand, watching the sun set through the rocks. As I sat, I overheard the conversation of a pair of travelers behind me.
“So where are you from?” one asked.
The other responded: “Minneapolis, Minnesota.”
Amelia Rayno covers food and travel for the Star Tribune. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @AmeliaRayno