What are the odds of running into an old acquaintance on the street in a foreign country?

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  1. Higher than you’d think.

    You might not that that many “old acquaintance” but former teachers, students, family… all this goes up to a few thousands. If you consider the few cities you might go to (because you might be part of the tiny slice of US population that a. leave their home state, b. has a passport, c. actually do travel a lot, you still didn’t met in the heart of the Australian bush) and considered a random sampling of them among the many people hanging out down town *within the *huge* sample of the people you came across… you’ll actually notice you most likely passed across far more relatives, without noticing.

    I started noticing this because I might be the only person looking up in a town where locals famously look at their shoes, and I kept noticing people I knew, who didn’t see me. The trick is to try to seize up how large is the sample of the people you meet downtown.

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