“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” Helen Keller
Friendship is a funny thing, sadly our narrow grasp of language doesn’t truly allow for a description of the different types of friendship. Some friendships are fleeting, bright stars that burn out as quickly as they alighted, others, a soft flame that burns for life, illuminating you through the good times and the bad. However, there is a special thing, a true friendship made on the road, a kindred spirit, someone you fall for as hard as you may fall in love with your soul mate, they too can be your missing piece. Helping you feel complete.
What can be tough is learning to make friends on the road, deal with the separation of old friends back home and helping to nurture all the important relationships in your life. For there is little else more nourishing than friendship.
So, the time has come for you to pack up and leave, the call of the open road is too loud to ignore and you have decided to head on your travels. How do you come to terms with leaving your loved ones behind as well as helping those close to you understand how you can protect the relationship. Firstly opening up clear communication is key, it will no doubt come as no surprise to those true friends at home, that you have long since been craving the thrill of traveling and heading to pastures new. But what’s more important is to help those friends understand that though you may be separated by lands, oceans or even time zones, the friendship doesn’t have to end, only change. At first, you can expect it to be hard but it won’t be long until you adapt. Keeping a link to your past is the best way to lay the map to your future, these people in your life shaped who you are so it’s important you understand this when prioritising your life. This means, for example, do you head for drinks tonight or do head to find some Wifi to skype with your pals back home? There is something really special about when you first engage the call to hear the elevated voices of your besties back home as they leap straight into mocking you about your new unkempt hair style and all the hippy bracelets you are rocking out with; they will keep you humble, grounded and sane!
3 Tips For Making New Friends
Perhaps you don’t bond easily, maybe you have trust issues and don’t see how anyone can fill the shoes of those you hold dear at home. Waste no time losing sleep over this, there is something deep and meaningful that will bond you with friends you meet while traveling and that is indeed, the desire to travel. They too left loved ones behind but can’t resist the desire to explore, they will also be looking to bond with someone. You immediately have common ground.
There are 3 easy steps to keep in mind:
- Be open to new experiences. Open your heart and your mind to meeting you people. Despite how hard you may think it is, allow yourself to embrace people with open arms. You can meet new traveling buddies just about anywhere, tourist office, in a pub or out in nature- skiing, hiking etc. Strike up a conversation about where you are, ask for advice and allow a platform for friendship to blossom.
- Try not to say no. Of course, you can’t possibly become a yes man for everything but this refers more to new experiences. If a new pal or a group say, “let’s go for drinks” go! Don’t let your inner hermit take over, try to be social and make that inevitable small talk, before long, the small talk over a cold beer or a cup of tea will become deep and meaningful in your time of need.
- Be bold and adventurous. You couldn’t possibly explain to someone who has never traveled solo or in a small group what it’s like in these “circles”. People are so much more relaxed about social confines, for example, you may have only know someone a few weeks but find them inviting you to travel to the next location together. This is normal, it helps you push your boundaries and put yourself in a situation you ordinarily wouldn’t. Of course one must be careful and cautious, common sense still applies!
Staying In Contact
Staying in touch is so important like we mentioned above. This topic works on both sides, it’s important to stay in touch with old friends and new. With old friends, you have to keep it exciting. It doesn’t just mean calling or skyping, you could send postcards, small gifts and cards in the post, it gives you something to be excited about, waiting for them to receive something from you or you expecting a message in the post from home. It keeps the spark alive and makes the time away as precious as your time together.
When you have made and nurtured these new friendships while on the road, it’s important not toss them to the way side once you have moved on. People are fragile and although we wouldn’t encourage you to bear the weight of the world on your shoulders, consider how that would make someone feel. Instead think about all the awesome times you had with these new friends, these unforgettable experience and when you finally return home, how wonderful it may be to extend an invite to them to experience another side of you.
We are reminded of another one of our favorite quotes. . . “Wherever you go, go with all your heart”, Confucius. This profound sentence can relate to not only travel and friendship but to all life. The lesson we hope to pass on about traveling and how to relates to friendships, old and new is to indeed go with all your heart, open, honest and vulnerable- open and ready embrace the vast measureless unknown.