Collective Dynamics of Small World Network

{2 Days in Paris…Fox Home Entertainment}

I once ran into a girl I went to high school with on the busiest street in Barcelona, and at a huge concert at the Kirstenbosch Gardens in South Africa I ran into a girl from a college French class (I didn’t even know she was studying in South Africa). My dad even ran into my friend Brad in Heathrow airport once.

In “2 Days in Paris” Adam Goldberg’s character has just finished reading a book called Collective Dynamics of Small World Networks (think 6 degrees of separation) and is convinced he should run into someone he knows from home while on his travels. Meanwhile, his [French] girlfriend [Julie Delpy] runs into a handful of ex-boyfriends, which all makes for an entertaining tale of romance, relationships and travel.

Have you ever had a small world moment while traveling?

P.S. If you have a good break-up-while-traveling story, post it on the Budget Travel blog for a chance to win the DVD.


  • I love your blog!
    Came to your site via my chum Maryam in Marrakech’s site.
    I live in a 500 year old house in the medina – which she often visits.
    I sort of HATE travelling having spent all of last Thursday in airports but I love dreaming of travel.
    Have you read Alain deBoton’s book “The Art of Travel”?
    Really interesting

  • This has happened to me several time.

    While I was studying abroad in France in 1994 I went to an amusement park in across the border in Germany with some friends. While waiting in line for a ride someone taps me on the shoulder and it is this Swiss guy that I had met in Italy years before. We had written to each other a few times after we met but then lost touch. We chatted a bit went on the ride and then went out separate ways.

    I also ran into my former hair stylist while on vacation in Cabo San Lucas. I lost touch with him when he moved to Beverly Hills (I lived in DC at the time) and then ran into him at the craft market in Cabo. It was great to see him and know that he was doing well.

    I am always amazed at how small the world really is.

  • I once ran into my Dad in the Paris airport. We were both in transit going to two different places on assignment and it was so very bizarre.

    And I once ran into a man I really loved in a strange city. He was with another woman (Sigh, and my hair was a wreck):(

  • plenty of them. what is it about airports in other cities that brings out the coincidental moments of the universe? I have to admit, it’s half of the fun of traveling!

    let’s see… the Vegas airport always means a run-in with a distant friend… something about Laguardia has that same effect (although normally not with people I was hoping to run into!)…and LAX seems to be the hub of the universe sometimes.

    For the most part I just love that we keep running into people on this big blue marble of ours!

  • I ran into my high school German teacher on the way off the plane at Gatwick in London. It turns out he was staying just around the corner from my flat in Earl’s Court too.

  • A couple of years ago I moved to London from Birmingham for work. I didn’t have anywhere to stay so I put out the message to everyone I knew in the hope that someone knew someone who knew someone who had a spare room for rent. Luckily a friend of mine had an acquaintance that owned a three bedroom flat and rented out two of them. When I go to see the flat only the landlady is there as the other girl (who was already renting the second room) was on holiday. I move in a week later and, a week after that, finally meet my other housemate. We hang around a bit, she meets some of my friends and everyone gets talking. It was at this point that we discover that one of my friends used to date her cousin a few years ago when we were still in uni. I thought this was a funny/strange coincidence but it was even stranger when, months later, my friend sends me a picture that we’d taken at a club nearly six years ago, its dark but right behind me is a girl laughing with her friends… my housemate.

  • Hi!

    I was watching “2 Days in Paris” last night for the first time and became totally fascinated by the concept of small-world networks! I decided to look it up and happened upon this entry of your blog (which is amazing, by the way).

    It was ironic for me that Adam Goldberg’s character wanted to meet someone he knew in Venice… I was in Venice in the summer of 2005, and after a long day of site-seeing, my friends and I sat on a canal bridge to rest and have a bite to eat. Just behind me, I overheard two families greeting one another, “What are you doing here!? Wow, what a small world!” I’ll always remember that.

    While I was camping in Rome, I also had a long conversation with a woman to later find out that she was from my fairly small hometown.

    And, lastly… my boyfriend went to visit his friend Rob in London last year, and ended up sharing a hostel room with two girls who are friends of Rob’s girlfriend back here in North Carolina.

    Anyway, to all who commented on this entry, your stories are great! Some of them even gave me goosebumps!

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